SPRINGHILL – The North Webster Knights were playing for their playoff lives Friday night, and they responded the way you would expect a John Ware-led team to do so.
The Knights controlled the game on the ground with their dynamic trio of backs and shutout the Mansfield Wolverines in the second half to seal a 43-20 win and keep their postseason hopes alive.
“I thought we played pretty good,” Ware said. “There were times where we didn’t execute as good as we like to, but I thought we played with more fire than we did all season. We played with urgency and when it was time to step it up, we did.”
The Knights got a star effort from running back Jaylen Thomas who finished with 14 carries for 124 yards and 2 TDs. Fullback Sam Modisette ran wild also, finishing with 121 yards and a score of his own.
North Webster’s TJ Hawthorne’s frenetic pace was slowed against a Mansfield team that appeared ready to stop him at all costs after he torched Loyola and BTW in recent weeks. He still finished with 53 yards and a TD, also scoring on a 2-point conversion.
“It really balanced itself out with him not getting as much as he usually would,” Ware said. “The other guys stepped up and had pretty good nights.”
The Knights’ defense stepped up too. After the young North Webster secondary gave up some big plays in the first half, they pitched a shutout in the second half to lead the way.
“We had some breakdowns in the secondary, but other than that we played well,” Ware said. “We stopped them on the 1-foot line and had two other fourth down stops in the game. Those were big plays for us.”
North Webster iced the game with a whopping 19-play, 10 minute drive to demoralize the Wolverines; it was textbook Knights’ football.
“That’s what we do,” Ware said. “That’s one of our defenses.”