Knights lance Redbirds

Adam Larck
Brendan Nachtrieb tries to squeeze a few more yards out of a run on Friday night against Peoria Richwoods.

A strong first half of football couldn't overcome a stagnant second half against 6A's No. 3 Richwood Knights.

A third quarter score by Mikail Davis was all Richwoods needed to go ahead for good, 18-14.

"I'll be honest with you, we're a little disappointed because we felt at halftime we would win the game," coach Pat Ryan said. "But, they made enough plays."

The first quarter started off quiet enough, with both teams getting a few plays off before punting away.

The second quarter is when the action picked up, though.

Metamora started the scoring off first, off a 3-yard Brendan Nachtrieb run to make it 7-0.

Less than a minute later, though, Kendrick Foster broke open a 74-yard to pull within one, 7-6.

Metamora kept the scoring going 30 seconds later when Nachtrieb completed a 24-yard pass to Sam Ryan for a touchdown, making it 14-6. Nachtrieb set up the touchdown with a 43-yard run up the middle the play before.

However, Foster again broke a big run open for the Knights by dodging a few defenders for a 68-yard touchdown run, pulling to 14-12 after a failed two-point conversion.

"We really had them on their heels, but he made some big runs," Ryan said.

While the scoring stopped in the second with over six minutes left in the half, Metamora had one more scare with 2:34 to go.

A wide snap gave Richwoods the ball at Metamora's 26. The Redbirds put up a strong defense, with the help of a short field goal attempt, to keep the Knights from scoring.

"It was a great start for our defense," Ryan said. "They didn't run all over us. I thought for the most part we contained them pretty good. We have some work to do."

After Richwoods punted away to Metamora to start the third, the Redbirds had a good drive going towards the endzone. A fumble at the Richwoods' 19-yard line would give the Knights the ball back, though.

The fumble ended up being one of two key turnovers that Metamora would have, with the second coming in the fourth quarter. Richwoods took advantage both times.

"That's what good teams do," Ryan said. "If you let your guard down, they take advantage of it."

Richwoods marched down the field, scoring with 1:48 to go in the third of a Davis 15-yard run to take a 18-14 advantage.

"When they get down in that territory with the kind of firepower they've got, it's hard to stop them," Ryan said.

The Redbirds started off the fourth with a strong fourth down stop to get the ball back with over 10 minutes on the clock.

"We had a great stop down there at the end. We had another chance. We were moving," he said.

The drive was stopped at Richwoods' 31-yard line by a Nachtrieb fumble as he almost hit the ground. The close call went to Richwoods, though, giving them the ball back with 5:59.

After Richwoods wasted almost three minutes off the clock, Metamora had one more chance to score.

The Redbirds fumbled the ball again, though, which Ryan attributed to rushing a bit more due to time.

"We certainly feel like we played well enough to win against a really good team, but probably put the ball on the ground one too many times," he said. "I think all of our mistakes were hard-playing mistakes. It wasn't like we had haphazard, not trying mistakes. There are a lot of positives to take from this."

However, he did warn his players in the post-game huddle about coming away with too many moral victories.

"You have to be careful with moral victories because you can do them all-year long," Ryan said. "You can always feel fuzzy about a loss and we don't want to do that and I don't think our kids will."

One thing to note is that the team played a lot of the second half without running back Dekota Doerr. Doerr, who broke his foot over the summer and had a screw put in, was on crutches by the end of the game.

"That foot was 100 percent healed, and then it was really sore," Ryan said. "We have no idea (what happened)."

Ryan added that Erik Inman came in and helped the team nicely in Doerr's absence. Still, Ryan is hopeful that Doerr will be able to return quickly.

$2,877: The 50/50 pot at the game. The pot was won by Tara Wilson, a fifth-grade teacher at Metamora Grade School. 35: The number of points the freshman team scored to beat Richwoods, 35-16. 9, 22, 63: The three captains for Metamora: Bryan Burk, Dekota Doerr and Jack Friedrich. 43: The longest run of the game for Metamora by Brendan Nachtrieb.

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