The winter of Knox’s discontent has come a season earlier this year, at least on the gridiron.
The Prairie Fire journeyed north to De Pere, Wis. last weekend to face the undefeated St. Norbert Green Knights, in an effort to gain some respect in conference, if nothing else. Despite a valiant effort by the Prairie Fire (0-5,0-4), the Green Knights (5-0, 4-0) laid a veritable stomping down, as they rolled to a 56-13 victory.
“St. Norbert is a good team, as always, and we made some mistakes,” Knox coach Andy Gibbons said. “We had some personal fouls, some mistakes that we made, and we have to work on that.”
Knox took the opening kickoff, hoping to take an early lead. Unfortunately, the problem of youth reared its ugly head, as freshman running back Mike Schroeder fumbled on the second play from scrimmage to give St. Norbert the ball at Knox’s 29-yard line. The Green Knights would score in two plays to go up by seven early.
Knox was able to answer back quickly, as junior quarterback Bill Meyer got the deep ball working early for the second straight week, tossing a 46-yard pass to senior Brent Newman to give Knox a score back and tie up the game. Meyer would finish the game passing for 58 total yards, going 3-for-8 with an interception. He would also rush for 24 yards on seven tries.
From the tied game, things went everything but well for Knox, as St. Norbert proceeded to dice up the secondary, with their starting quarterback Rob Berger going 12-for-12 with 165 yards and three scores. The Green Knights would score on seven consecutive possessions to start the game before Knox was able to force a punt, while Knox was held scoreless after the first quarter, not getting to the end zone again until the outcome was all but decided, when they made it with two seconds left in the game.
On the other side of the ball, St. Norbert’s massive offensive line kept Berger safe throughout the game, as Knox did not register a sack. Senior defensive end Tighe Burke led the team with eight tackles, including one for a three-yard loss. Other than that, there was nothing of note going on defensively, as the Green Knights focused their energy on the secondary of the Fire.
Despite the loss to what will no doubt be a contender for the conference title, Gibbons is undaunted in heading to this weekend’s matchup against Grinnell.
“We’re excited to be back home, excited to be trying for a win,” he said. “The last five games were a disappointment, but we have a chance to get into the win column.”
The Pioneers come to Galesburg with only one win on the season, and sit only one spot above Knox in conference rankings. The team is fired up, and ready to take the field and please its home crowd with a victory. Game time is 1:05 p.m., immediately following the Prairie Fire Pregame Show on WVKC 90.7, from 12 to 1 p.m.