Knights fall to Mays

Sophomore Jordan Taylor, No. 5, closes in on a first quarter tackle of Mays freshman running back Travis Terrell in the Knights 30-6 loss to the Raiders on Sept. 19.

Keller Rentz-Baker

The Mays Raiders handed the Knights their second loss of the season in a lopsided 30-6 matchup Sept. 19.

In a game filled with penalties and turnovers, the Raiders (2-1) powered through the Knights (0-2) with a forceful, run-heavy offensive scheme.

The game started with 3-and-outs from both teams, but after the Knights were stopped deep in their own territory, the Raiders gained ideal field position. Starting at the Grady 28-yard line, Mays took advantage of the favorable field position to punch in a 1-yard touchdown to take a 7-0 lead. The Knights responded with a 58-yard pass by senior quarterback Chase Stokes to the Mays 20 yard line.

Instead of scoring, the Knights found themselves in a hole 20 yards behind the first down marker after an offensive pass-interference call on a touchdown play and an illegal substitution, forcing a punt.

Mays went up 9-0 after Grady fumbled a snap in the end zone after starting at its own 1 yard line after a goal-line stand to prevent a Mays score. 

“We had quite a few turnovers, but we still need to learn how to finish,” coach Kevin Clark said. “We find ourselves in a situation where guys know what they need to do sometimes, but they get a little bit tired and fatigued, and all of a sudden, they don’t know exactly what they’re supposed to do.”

The Raiders took advantage of another fumbled snap by Stokes, setting up at Grady’s 33 yard line to eventually score.

Mays capitalized on the fumble with a grueling, powerful drive that found many Knights defenders with their hands on their hips seemingly fatigued. The Raiders went up 16-0 on a 1-yard rushing score with 50 seconds left in the half. 

“We need to get into better shape, conditioning wise, and we need to start drinking more fluids, “Clark said. “We had a lot of guys go down with cramps in key positions, and all of a sudden, we found ourselves with players on the field who aren’t used to playing in crucial situations. Against a good team, stuff like that’s going to hurt you.”

After a third botched snap, Mays found a wide open receiver for a 50-yard touchdown pass, extending its lead to 23-0.

Both teams opened the second half with sputtering offenses, but after a 10-yard punt by the Raiders, the Knights got on the scoreboard with a 3-yard run by tailback back Steven Simpson.

Mays added only one additional touchdown in the second half for a final of 30-6. 

Despite the defeat, the Knights showed bright spots on both sides of the ball, including sophomore quarterback Forrest Lietz, who showed potential on his few snaps.

“We have a young quarterback in Forrest that we see could be promising, so we’ll work with him a little bit this week, and we’ll see what he looks like,” Clark said.

Offensive and defensive penalties handicapped the Knights throughout the game.

“We have to get our plays in a lot quicker and get lined up faster, as well,” Clark said. “If we have less penalties, then that really changes everything we can call, and it really opens up our playbook.”

The Knights look ahead to their next game against rival North Atlanta on Sept. 26.

“We don’t know much about them, with a brand new coach, we’re just looking to be fundamentally sound and make sure we’re able to tackle and block and do the basics,” Clark said of preparation for the Warriors. “If we’re able to do this basic stuff, then we’ll be able to minimize things like penalties.”