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Isaiah Smith, Knox College Football
GALESBURG, Illinois—After a narrow loss just a week ago, the Knox College football team was not messing around when they stepped on the field against Grinnell College. Knox (4-2, 1-1 MWC) put up 56 points against the Pioneers thanks to fantastic play from the Fire defense.
On the offensive end, the Fire wasted no time starting off the scoring frenzy, piecing together an eight-play, 80-yard drive on their first possession of the game which was capped off by a 21-yard rushing touchdown from Braeden Westfall. Knox then put the scoring on rapid-fire late in the second half, reaching the end zone twice in under two minutes. The first touchdown came by way of a five-yard touchdown pass from Matt McCaffrey to Malik Hamilton. McCaffrey then found Trey Swanson in the end zone with just two seconds left in the half.
The Fire kept the momentum going in the second half courtesy of a Joey Auger kick return to the one-yard line to open the half. The next play Auger would punch it in to make the score 28-0 Knox. A lightning delay a few minutes later did not slow down the Fire at all. After a two-hour delay, Westfall scored his second touchdown of the day on the first play after the delay. Westfall would rush for 121 yards and two scores.
Just as it looked like Grinnell would finally score, the Knox defense had a powerful goal line stand ending in a 4th down interception by Isaiah Smith which he would take back 98 yards for the touchdown, the second longest in Knox history. On the ensuing drive, the Fire picked off another Grinnell pass attempt, this time by Hunter Baquet, who returned it to the 20 and then pitched it back to Jeremy Matthews who would take it all the way to the house. Now up 49-0, Knox allowed the first Grinnell touchdown of the game. A touchdown by Kendall Bearden midway through the 4th quarter would bring the game its final score of 56-14.
The offensive scoring frenzy however would not have been possible without the lockdown Prairie Fire defense. Logan Hollis, Baquet, and Tyler Podwojski led the way with seven tackles apiece. Cody Hipp added six tackles and Jordan Anderson added a sack to his season total. Evan Economos and Hollis both had interceptions as well.
McCaffrey finished a perfect 11-of-11 passing for 91 yards and two touchdowns. The 100% completion percentage is the best in school history with a minimum of 10 attempts. Hamilton finished with five catches for 45 yards and a touchdown. Joey Auger added 131 all-purpose yards to lead the team.
The Fire will look to continue winning when they travel to Jacksonville to take on Illinois College on October 21.