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Braeden Westfall, Knox College Football

BELOIT, Wisconsin—The Prairie Fire football team fell to Beloit 23-20 on Saturday afternoon after a late rally by the hosts.

Knox (0-2) fell behind early when the Buccaneers found the end zone four minutes into the game. The Prairie Fire responded when Jacob Amaro found Kobe Shutter for a 79-yard touchdown with 5:42 left in the first quarter. Knox was unsuccessful on the point after attempt and trailed 7-6 heading into the second quarter.

The Prairie Fire took the lead with 6:32 left to play in the first half when Braeden Westfall rushed for a touchdown. Westfall accounted for a total of 29 yards on the 40-yard drive, including a 24-yard reception. Knox took a 13-7 lead into halftime after Jesus Flores made the extra point.

Westfall extended the Prairie Fire lead midway through the third quarter with another rushing touchdown, he again accounted for a large chunk of the 57-yard drive. Flores converted the extra point to extend the lead to 17 heading into the final quarter.

Beloit started the fourth quarter with a touchdown of their own, but a failed extra point attempt brought the score to 20-13 in favor of Knox. A quick four-and-out for the Prairie Fire gave the Buccaneers the ball back with 10:43 left to play. Beloit quickly took advantage with a four-play, 65-yard touchdown drive. The Buccaneers converted the extra point to knot the score at 20-all.

Another four-and-out by Knox gave Beloit an opportunity for their first lead since the first quarter. The Buccaneers moved the ball down the field, before stalling deep in Knox territory. A failed field goal attempt, gave the Prairie Fire another possession with 3:45 to play. Westfall rushed for a three-yard gain and Amaro completed a pair of passes, but back-to-back penalties left Knox with a second down with 22 yards to go. The Prairie Fire ended up punting with an eye towards forcing overtime.

Beloit moved down the field in the final minutes, before stalling at the Knox 19-yard line. The Buccaneers attempted another field goal, this time splitting the uprights for the 23-20 lead. Knox got the ball back with 21 seconds remaining, but could not convert on the last ditch effort.

Amaro completed 18-of-32 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown. Westfall racked up 109 yards on the ground to go along with his two scores. He also added two catches for 27 yards. Kobe Shutter grabbed a pair of receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown. Malik Hamilton caught four passes for 47 yards. Quinn Sharp and Tyler Podwojski led the Prairie Fire with nine tackles apiece. Mario Whitley picked up two tackles for a loss, including a sack. Jordan Anderson added a sack, while Logan Hollis and Ean Rau each grabbed an interception.

“We had plenty of opportunity, but just didn’t capitalize,” said head coach Damon Tomeo. “Beloit showed resilience in the third quarter, we struggled to put them away and let them back in the game.”

The Prairie Fire will regroup with a bye next week before traveling to Ripon on September 22.