The Lindsay Knights couldn’t have asked for a better start to their season, especially in the midst of some last-minute adversity.
Despite having their first home game of the season moved to Bridgeport due to the downpour of rain earlier in the day Friday, Aug. 30, the Knights throttled Era 52-0.
Lindsay head coach Jeff Smiley said nearly every aspect of the game went well and he hopes that will translate to this week’s matchup against Muenster in the kraut bowl.
“We feel like we’re a much better football team,” Smiley said. “We’re more physical. We’re quicker. From a scheme standpoint, we’re much more comfortable in our in our own skin, so to speak, doing what we do. And I think that was all evident Friday night. Really, it could have had a bigger night because we left some stuff out there.”
Sophomore quarterback Kolt Schuckers headlined the offense as he threw for 397 yards on 20-of-32 passing for six touchdowns. He also ran for 10 yards and a touchdown for a total of seven on the night.
“Anytime you throw the ball downfield, that’s going to help us open everything else up,” Smiley said.
That was evident by the Knights rushing for 155 and Smiley said penalties called back a few long runs, so it could have been even more.
On the receiving end of Schuckers’ passes was Garrett Ellender, who hauled in five passes for 147 yards and three touchdowns.
Braxton Craigie also had 85 yards on three receptions.
As the Knights turn their attention to the Hornets on Friday, Sept. 6, Smiley, who has coached on both sides of the rivalry, said the atmosphere will be unique at Hornet Stadium.
“This will be my ninth one and it’s just a cool deal,” Smiley said. “That’s one of the biggest rivalries in the state. And it means a lot to both communities, as it should. All the reasons you coach and play the game is that we get to play in games like this. It’s exciting. The enthusiasm from both schools and communities, it’s one of the reasons that you coach. It’s a fun game.”
Smiley said the Knights’ defense will have its hands full with the Hornets’ offense.
“You have to stop the running game,” Smiley said. “But you also have to stop their passing game. Jonathan Wheeler and Danny Luttmer, you have to be able to stop those two guys because they can make plays in the passing game as well.”
As the Hornets’ former defensive coordinator, Smiley said he knows head coach Brady Carney and Muenster’s defense has been a mainstay for the past decade.
“Carney is gonna put defense first and it wins championships,” Smiley said. “And we do the same. We have to be able to block them. They’re good up front. But I told our kids, this game will be won in the trenches on both sides. We have to be able to win the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. And not only that, but we’ve got to be sound in the special teams.”
Patrick Hayslip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @PatrickHayslip