E.A. Sports Today

Knight riders

Junior Aaron Knight scores 5 TDs, leads Randolph County over Ohatchee to set up showdown with Piedmont

After the game’s opening drive the Randolph County defense didn’t give Ohatchee much room to work. Here, the Tigers wrap up Jesse Sellers (2) for a short gain. (Photo by Jeremy Wortham/TigerDen Media)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OHATCHEE — A year ago, the Randolph County Tigers were the new kids on the block – and smallest – in the toughest region in Class 3A football. To their credit they didn’t let anybody bully them and they held their own, losing all year only to best teams in their league.

They’re still the smallest kid on the block – one average student above the threshold for being in Class 3A – but they’re pushing their way through the crowd and could be on the verge of changing the guard.

The Tigers already knocked off one of the region’s top dogs, taking down Ohatchee Friday night on the Creekbank 42-6. Next in their sights is the king of the mountain, Piedmont.

Knock off one of the top two teams and you move up in the line. Knock off both two weeks in a row and all of a sudden the view changes.

“We come in to every game thinking to win and performing to the fullest of our ability,” Tigers tailback Aaron Knight said. “We took these two games very personal because these were the two teams that beat us, especially this one (Ohatchee) – they beat us twice. We come in with a goal of avenging last year’s loss.”

The Tigers did that in a big way Friday night, with Knight leading the band. The junior scored five of his team’s six touchdowns – four rushing and one on a 60-yard interception return. He and backfield mat Trent Lane both rushed for 110 yards on 12 carries.

Knight is the kind of player, he says, who doesn’t like to behind anyone or anything. He was the Tigers’ second tailback a year ago and got some touches, but worked hard all offseason and now he’s what coach Pat Prestridge calls “the machine.”

“He’s so smart he can play any position on this field without really having to practice,” Prestridge said. “Last year coming in here he was the No. 2. This year, he didn’t say a lot, he just worked hard in the weight room, got stronger, bigger (and) right now he’s the machine. I told somebody if I had 20 like him we wouldn’t have to practice. He’s a unique kid.”

It took Knight a while to get going Friday because the game couldn’t have started any better for the home team.

The Indians got exactly what they wanted in the game’s first drive. They took the air out of the ball, chewing up more than six minutes of the first-quarter clock and scoring on an 80-yard drive capped by Domonique Thomas’ 1-yard run.

But the Tigers didn’t panic when they went down 6-0; they went nuts with big plays on defense and special teams.

Lane brought the kickoff back 90 yards to the 1, setting up Knight’s first touchdown. What happened next was just a recipe for a rout.

The Indians fumbled the ensuing kickoff, giving the Tigers a short field, and Brody Wortham bootlegged into the end zone three plays later. Knight ended Ohatchee’s next possession with an interception he returned 60 yards for a score; it was their fourth defensive or special teams touchdown this season. The Tigers had a 21-6 lead after the first quarter with only 28 yards of total offense.

Ohatchee’s misfortune didn’t stop there. The Indians fumbled their next possession and Randolph County converted that into a score, then they were sacked on fourth down and the Tigers scored again.

“The game couldn’t have been scripted any better the way it opened up … but you can’t turn the ball over four times in a football game and beat anybody,” Ohatchee coach Scott Martin said. “They’re a good, good football team, but we sure made it a lot easier for them. We let the momentum get out of control in their favor and for all intents and purposes they put the game away a little more into a quarter and a half of football.

“I’d like to have seen the game with no turnovers. If we don’t have any turnovers I’d at least like to see what it is. Whether we win or not I can’t answer that but I think it’s going to be a lot closer than 42-6.”

On the cover: Randolph County’s Aaron Knight (24) leaves Ohatchee defenders in his wake while scoring five touchdowns Friday night. (Photo by Jeremy Wortham/TigerDen Media)

[table id=58 /]

Randolph Co. 21 14 7 0 — 42
Ohatchee 6 0 0 0 — 6

O – Domonique Thomas 1 run (kick failed), 5:28 1Q
R – Aaron Knight 1 run (Jordan Heard kick), 5:07 1Q
R – Brody Wortham 3 run (kick failed), 4:06 1Q
R – Aaron Knight 60 interception return (Trent Lane run), 1:58 1Q
R – Aaron Knight 6 run (Jordan Heard kick), 9:06 2Q
R – Aaron Knight 24 run (Jordan Heard kick), 4:39 2Q
R – Aaron Knight 44 run (Jordan Heard kick), 3:12 3Q

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