By Jason Haddix
For The Herald Bulletin
MIDDLETOWN, Ind. —
Shenandoah relied on its rushing attack to overcome an early deficit and defeat Knightstown, 40-20 in Friday’s IHSAA 2A sectional 38 semifinal matchup.
The 11th-ranked Raiders were led by running backs Lane Young and Chandler Hale.
The change-of-pace tandem rushed for 225 of the Raiders’ 284 rushing yards and tallied all six of the Raiders’ touchdowns.
“It keeps us balanced in the running game,” Shenandoah coach Scott Widner said. “You can’t focus on one kid and try to take away one of our backs. (Knightstown) did a great job taking away our counter plays and jet sweeps.”
Young employed a more north-south approach by pounding the middle of the line. His 128 yards was the sixth time he topped the century mark and was third most of the season for the senior.
Hale, a more outside runner, had 97 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown.
Shenandoah coach Scott Widner said before the game that for the Raiders to come out victorious, they had to execute the offense, not turn the ball over, and the defense had to take the talented Panther runners.
The offense handled the first of the keys nearly flawlessly by reeling off 40 unanswered points after being down early 6-0. The lone mishap came in the fourth quarter when Patrick Resler fumbled the ball with just under two minutes to play.
Knightstown capitalized on the turnover and scored on a 21-yard run by Ruble.
On two of the three Panther scoring drives, the Shenandoah defense struggled to wrap up the Knightstown runners.
“It seems like we got to the ball early in the play and then we just didn’t finish the play,” Widner said. “We will have to focus on that this week.”
Shenandoah was forced to punt on it’s first drive, but the Raiders defense held Knightstown on a forth-and-one to get the ball on the Panther 36. Five snaps later, Young ran it in from 15 yards.
“It was a big switch for us,” Widner said of the fourth down stop. “Half the time (Riley Ruble) will get it, half the time he’s not and it worked out in our favor. It gave us a short field and got us going a little bit.”
Ruble had 108 yards was one of two Panther runners to go over 100-yards, the other was Kaleb Kinnaman with 111.
The two also accounted for all three of Knightstown’s scores, Ruble with two and Kinnaman with one.
Four of Shenandoah’s six scoring drives start on Knightstown’s side of the field.
The Raiders will face last season Class A state runners-up Scecina on Friday for the sectional championship.