Much like last week against Muenster, the Lindsay Knights had another lightning fast start against the Callisburg Wildcats.
Lindsay needed less than a minute to take control of the game and take a 7-0 lead. Despite two first-half turnovers, the Knights kept their foot on the gas pedal and had a 28-0 lead at halftime on the way to a 41-6 victory Friday, Sept. 11, at Knight Stadium.
Lindsay head coach Jeff Smiley was happy with the win, but knows there is plenty more work to do if the Knights are going to meet their lofty expectations of a deep playoff run.
“I told our team before the game that it was the most important game of the season and for us it’s about getting better,” Smiley said. “We’ve got one more tune-up before district and I’m not real happy about it to be honest. We’re not maximizing our opportunities. We had a couple drops and penalties and defensively, we had a couple of busts and you just can’t do that in the playoffs.”
It took the Knights just 51 seconds and five plays to find the end zone as Tyler Yancey’s 7-yard touchdown run gave Lindsay the 7-0 lead.
Each team then exchanged turnovers as Lindsay’s Braxton Craigie jumped on a Callisburg fumble and on the next play, Lindsay quarterback Kolt Schuckers was picked off by Jake Pollard.
Lindsay’s defense bowed up and forced a punt on the Wildcats’ ensuing possession and capitalized on its next drive.
The Knights needed just five plays to add to their lead as Garrett Ellender’s 3-yard touchdown run pushed the advantage to 13-0 with 7:15 left in the first quarter after a failed 2-point conversion.
Callisburg constructed a solid drive on its next possession, pushing the ball deep into Lindsay territory, however, the Wildcats couldn’t convert on a 4th-and-5 and were forced to turn the ball over on downs.
Lindsay had the ball on the Callisburg side of the field to start the second frame, but the Wildcats’ Carlos Mata intercepted Schuckers to end the drive.
Callisburg couldn’t take advantage though as it turned the ball over on downs again.
The Knights didn’t let this swing of momentum go by the wayside as they converted on a 3rd-and-10 before capping off the drive with a 41-yard touchdown pass from Schuckers to Colt Hanks.
Lindsay converted the 2-point conversion to take a 21-0 lead with 4:02 left in the first half.
Smiley said the Knights did a good job bouncing back after the early turnovers.
“The turnovers were frustrating, but we responded well,” Smiley said. “Not much flusters Kolt. Sometimes I wish some things did fluster him.”
Schuckers admitted he was frustrated after the game because he made some wrong reads, but was happy to rebound with a few touchdown passes.
“I was antsy about getting rid of the ball, but I try not to let that stuff get to my head so I can come back the next drive and throw a touchdown,” Schuckers said. “It felt good because it gave me reassurance I can come back.”
After Lindsay’s defense held the Wildcats on their next drive, the Knights struck quickly again on offense.
Lindsay marched down the field on four plays with Yancey hauling in the 11-yard screen pass down the right sideline that went for a touchdown.
The Knights took a 28-0 lead with 37 seconds left in the half.
“I told our team at halftime and that the score was 0-0,” Smiley said. “We don’t want to take a step back as a football team and we came out good in the second half. We’re a big-play offense and sometimes we need to take advantage of what people give to us.”
Lindsay held on defense to start the third quarter and found its groove quickly on offense, needing just four plays to push the lead to 34-0.
Schuckers found Ellender for a 47-yard touchdown with 7:29 left in the third quarter.
Lindsay pushed its lead to 41-0 with 2:57 left in the third quarter on a 53-yard touchdown to Yancey from Schuckers.
Callisburg finally scored with 7:04 left in the game on a lengthy, run-heavy drive. Wildcats running back Brayden Trammell’s 14-yard touchdown run cut the lead to 41-6.