HAYNESVILLE – The North Webster Knights were driving in the Haynesville red zone with a chance to tie or take the lead when disaster struck.
A fumbled quarterback-center exchange cost the Knights a golden opportunity against the Golden Tornado, as North Webster fell in a classic rivalry game against Haynesville 19-7 at Red Franklin-Memorial Stadium.
The two throwback programs have treated football fans to some classics over the past 5 years, and Friday’s installment was no exception, as the Tornado used two explosive plays to down the Knights in a game otherwise
dominated by defense.
“I was pleased and displeased,” Knights head coach John Ware said. “I thought we played hard and gave ourselves a chance to win. They didn’t do anything offensively besides two big plays. We drove inside the red zone twice and turned it over both times; you just can’t do that.”
The game began with a boom as Haynesville scored on the opening play from scrimmage with a toss sweep to take a 7-0 lead. The Golden Tornado extended their lead with 3 minutes to play in the first half with a rare pass play, extending their lead to 13-0 after a failed extra point.
North Webster got on the board midway through the third quarter with a nice drive capped by TJ Hawthorne’s 12-yard rushing touchdown. The extra point was good and the Knights trailed by just 6 points.
Haynesville had a chance to take control of the game when they took the ball inside the North Webster 10 with a first and goal, but the purple and white jerseys on defense stood tall and came up with an incredible goal line stand.
“Defensively, we played lights out,” Ware said. “It’s a hard pill to swallow, but it only takes two bad plays for them and they hit you for a touchdown. We had a couple guys on a couple plays who don’t do their responsibility and that’s the difference. To only give up 13 points, I’m very pleased with those guys and there’s a lot of positives we
can take from that.”
North Webster put together one of their best drives of the night after the stop, taking the ball inside the 20-yard line of Haynesville with 5 minutes to play. That’s when the failed QB-C exchange occurred, with Haynesville falling on the ball for a Tornado recovery.
North Webster’s last-gasp drive late in the game was intercepted for a touchdown to seal the deal, but the Knights showed they will by tough for opposing teams this season.
“Just got to stay the course,” Ware said. “We’ll come home next week and try to play a little bit better.”