BY O.J. EARLY
Some wins are just sweeter than others. And for the Chuckey-Doak Black Knights, a 69-35 drubbing of in-county rival South Greene is about as sweet as it gets.
Chuckey-Doak, on the back of an explosive performance from senior Bryce Malone, claimed its first victory on Rebel Hill since 1992, in addition to locking up a winning season, finishing at 6-4, 3-3 in the conference. The Knights were already in the playoffs heading into Friday's date with South Greene and must now wait to see who it is they will play next week.
South Greene, who closes the books on the 2012 season with a 1-9 record, turned in no doubt their best offensive performance of the season, trailing the Knights by only a touchdown late in the first half.
"We wanted to finish with a winning record this year, it's really important to us," said Chuckey-Doak coach Aaron Christian. "This is three years in a row that Chuckey-Doak has had a winning record. We look at that as a tradition we are trying to start here."
Perhaps the biggest story of the night was the electric performance from Malone. Malone, widely seen as a contender for the prestigious TSSAA Mr. Football award, finished the game with 326 yards on 20 carries and a whopping seven touchdowns.
After the Knights forced the Rebels to a speedy three and out, Knight junior Nick Sandstrom cranked out a 40 yard run, setting the stage for Malone's first touchdown of the game, a 20 yard run. A Colin Crews PAT made the score 7-0 with 9:42 in the game.
The Rebels began to show life on their second offensive possession, moving the ball 28 yards, behind three straight catches from junior Rebel Preston Shuffler. But the Knights defense stiffened and stopped South Greene on fourth down.
It took C-D only four plays to score, as Malone found the endzone for the second time on the night, this time from 29 yards out. The PAT extended Chuckey-Doak's lead to 14-0 with 5:53 to play in the first quarter.
That score stood until 10:54 in the second quarter when Malone returned a punt 64 yards. The PAT gave the Knights a 21-0 lead. South Greene's next possession wasn't a successful one, turning the ball over on downs after faking a punt.
Malone, after churning out a 36-yard second-down run, plowed into the endzone from four yards out. The PAT failed, but the Knights were still in charge 27-0 with 7:42 to play in the first half.
The Rebels, however, would not be blanked. Behind the arm of junior quarterback Hunter Waddell, who did not start the game at quarterback, South Greene reeled off 20 straight points. The first touchdown was a 50 yard bomb to sophomore Dalton Dunkley. The PAT was blocked, making the new score 27-6 with 4:08 in the second quarter.
The Rebels were successful in fielding an onside kick, and the pass happy Rebs found the endzone two plays later on a 16-yard TD strike from Waddell to Justin Castell. South Greene went for two and got it, closing the gap to 27-14 with 3:30 left in the half.
But the Rebels weren't finished. Back-to-back fumbles by C-D set the Rebels up with first-and-10 on the Knight 36 yard line. Waddell connected with Lightfoot for the score, bringing the Rebels to within 7, down 27-20 with 40 seconds to play. Two big plays by the Knights set Malone up for his fifth score of the game, this one 16 yards, allowing Chuckey-Doak to take back some momentum and go the locker room leading 35-20.
The second half proved more of the same for the Black Knights: a steady diet of Malone. The senior rambled into the endzone from eight yards out, pushing the Knights to a 42-20 lead after Crews' PAT.
The Rebels remained determined, however, and struck again on a four yard quarterback keeper by Waddell. The two-point conversion was successful, and the Knights were in charge 42-28 with 7:26 to play in the third quarter.
Three more scores by the Knights, one a two-yard blast by Malone, a two-yard run by senior Dalton Gray and 33-yard TD pass from Kris Hinkle to Nic Alexander gave the Knights a comfortable 62-28 lead with 10:53 to play in the fourth quarter.
South Greene continued to battle and scored with 6:28 to play on a five-yard pass from Casteel to Dunkley. The PAT made the score 62-35 with 6:28 remaining.
C-D tacked their final score of the contest on a 33-yard run from sophomore Daniel Ramirez. The PAT was good, and the Knights left Rebel Hill with 69-35 victory.
The two teams combined for a 104 points in the game.