BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — The Pope John Paul II Knights finished up their regular season on the road, as they traveled to take on the South Warren (Ky.) Spartans.
With the playoffs coming up next week, the Knights looked to head into postseason play with some momentum. Despite a solid performance in the passing game, several penalties and miscues would doom the Knights, as they fell to South Warren 36-14 at Spartan Field.
“It’s frustrating,” Pope John Paul head coach Justin Geisinger said. “That’s a good football team we played, and they’re undefeated for a reason. We knew that had a lot of team speed and it was something we would have to deal with. They have a lot of good athletes on both sides of the ball, especially in the secondary.”
South Warren began the game with 22 unanswered points. The Spartans scored first on a five-yard run from Kayron Namvong. Several drives later, quarterback Ryder Litten connected with Zach Haynes for a 28-yard touchdown pass. Late in the second quarter, Litten would score againwith a 31-yard run.
The Knights found an answer on the ensuing drive, as running back Quar’Derius Hunter scored on a seven-yard run to make the score 22-7 at the half.
Litten threw two touchdown passes on consecutive Spartan drives in the third quarter, first connecting with Namvong on a 35-yard screen play and later on a 46-yard strike to wide receiver C.J. Hayes.
“Up front we really struggled to move the ball early in the game, and when you get in a position where you have to throw the ball nine out of 10 times in the second half to get back in the football game, it’s tough against a really talented defense,” Geisinger said. “We needed to stay in that game and jump on them early, but unfortunately we didn’t do that.”
Trailing 36-7 late in the third, the Knights’ offense completely turned to the passing game. Quarterback Ben Brooks, who finished with 201 passing yards on the night, found Pace Dempsey for a 67-yard touchdown pass to make the score 36-14 late in the third quarter. However, the Knights failed to find the end zone again the rest of the game, sealing the victory for South Warren.
Despite the loss Geisinger adds that his team will regroup and shift their focus to preparing for their opening-round playoff game.
“We’ll go back and look at it. It’s playoff time now and everyone plays where we’re at. We’ll watch this tape and try to learn from it and get ready to try to play at our best next week.”