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Tough (K)night(s)

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Connersville senior Maxwell Crank (57) tackles South Dearborn quarterback Adam Dixon following a short gain at Spartan Field on Friday night. Crank and the Spartans (0-4) will go in search of their first win of the season, Friday night against visiting Rushville.
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Connersville's Jacen Beckman (33) attempts to stop South Dearborn running back Dalton Guthrie, Friday night at Spartan Field. Ready to lend him a hand is Adam Kelly (2). Guthrie scored fiverushing touchdowns in the game, leading the Knights to a 56-0 victory.
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Connersville junior Carter James (77) leads runner Landon Cerqua (42) through the line of scrimmage, in a game against Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference foe South Dearborn at Spartan Field on Friday night. The Spartans were defeated 56-0.

By GRADY TATE - gtate@newsexaminer.com

Through its first three games of the season, sluggish starts and early mistakes have contributed in a big way to the Connersville High School football team spiraling to an 0-3 start.

Friday, against Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference (Class 4A) foe South Dearborn, that spiral continued.

Recovering a fumble in the end zone for a score four plays into the game, then adding a 67-yard touchdown scamper on their first play from scrimmage a few minutes later, the Knights left Spartan Field with a 56-0 victory.

“We really shot ourselves in the foot tonight, especially early in the game,” Connersville head coach Adam Kelly said, following the loss. “That’s been a recurring thing so far this season. South Dearborn is too good of a team to make mistakes like that. They capitalized on every one of the errors we made.”

The biggest of those early mistakes resulted in Austin Terrell putting the visitors on the scoreboard, following a fumble recovery in the end zone, with 10:32 left to play in the opening quarter.

Less than four minutes later, Dalton Guthrie scampered 67 yards for another score, the first of five rushing touchdowns on the night for the SD junior.

His second journey into the end zone happened with 1:56 left in the stanza, giving the Knights a 21-0 lead after one quarter.

“They were able to establish themselves early in the game, while we were still trying to get our feet beneath us,” coach Kelly said.

Two more scores in the second quarter (42 yards, 36 yards), both of them tosses from quarterback Adam Dixon to receiver Ethan Getz, put South Dearborn firmly in charge, 35-0 by halftime.

Any chance of slowing South Dearborn’s momentum in the second half fell by the wayside two plays after the break, as Guthrie again broke free, this time from 57 yards away.

“We found ourselves out of position at times on defense, and they’re just too good, athletic and aggressive for us to get away with that,” Kelly said 

Connersville answered with its longest series of the game, moving the football for 11 plays, but the drive stalled at the South Dearborn 38-yard line.

Eliminating time on the clock with the long drive helped the Spartans avoid further damage in the third quarter, but the Knights went back to work in the fourth, punching two more scores across.

“I told the kids after the game that sometimes life just beats you up, and you need to get up and go to work the next day,” Kelly said. “That’s the way you have to do things, so tomorrow, we’ll go back to work and get ready for Rushville.”

While the final score didn’t leave much for the Spartans to hang their helmets on, coach Kelly said there were some bright spots throughout the night.

“Just as it’s been in our previous three games, our kids played hard for the entire game, they never quit,” he said. “I thought Jacen Beckman played solid on the defensive side of the ball. I also think that Warren Toole had a nice game offensively. Our offensive line played well, and I think we’ll see that they did some things really well, when we watch the film.

“We’ve got to get to a point where we are more disciplined and doing some of the little things better than what we are at the moment.”

Guthrie finished with 210 rushing yards and the five scores to lead South Dearborn (3-1).

Landon Cerqua carried the football 18 times and finished with 53 yards, both team highs for the Spartans (0-4).

Connersville hosts Rushville on Friday for the War on 44 trophy.

KNIGHTS 56, SPARTANS 0

(at Spartan Field)

South Dearborn 21 14 7 14 – 56

Connersville 0 0 0 0 – 0

Scoring

First quarter

SD — Austin Terrill fumble recovery in end zone; Zach Dick kick; 10:32

SD — Dalton Guthrie 67-yard run, Dick kick; 6:51

SD — Guthrie 7-yard run, Dick kick; 1:56

Second quarter

SD — Ethan Getz 42-yard pass from Adam Dixon, Dick kick; 9:11

SD — Getz 36-yard pass from Dixon, Dick kick; 6:15

Third quarter

SD — Guthrie 57-yard run, Dick kick; 11:16

Fourth quarter

SD — Guthrie 15-yard run, Dick kick; 11:53

SD — Guthrie 15-yard run, Dick kick; 6:01

Team statistics

First downs — South Dearborn 9, Connersville 5

Total yards — South Dearborn 360, Connersville 106

Rushing yards — South Dearborn 235, Connersville 105

Passing yards — South Dearborn 125, Connersville 1

Punt/Kick return yards — South Dearborn 35, Connersville 119

Penalties-yards — South Dearborn 3-15, Connersville 8-70

Fumbles/lost — South Dearborn 5/2, Connersville 4/3

Individual statistics

Rushing — South Dearborn 30-235 (Ethan Getz 1-7, Adam Dixon 4-5, Dalton Guthrie 15-210 (5 TD), Austin Bedel 2-(minus 21), Tiberious Starcher 1-(minus 6), David Blair 7-40). Connersville 40-105 (Adam Kelly 6-(minus 3), Warren Toole 13-39, Gavin Lynch 2-15, Colten Sizemore 1-1, Landon Cerqua 18-53).

Passing — South Dearborn (Adam Dixon 6-8-125 (2 TD), Austin Bedel 0-0-0). Connersville (Adam Kelly 1-7-1 (3 Int.)

Receiving — South Dearborn (Ethan Getz 2-78 (2 TD), Dalton Guthrie 1-(-1), Chance Sperringer 1-13, David Blair 2-35). Connersville (Landon Cerqua 1-1).

Punt/Kick returns — South Dearborn: Dalton Guthrie 1-35 (35.0 avg.). Connersville: Colten Glover 5-58 (11.6 avg.), Gavin Lynch 4-61 (15.25 avg.).

Punting — South Dearborn: Adam Dixon 1-25 (25.0 avg.). Connersville: Adam Kelly 3-86 (28.67 avg.).