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A Knight to remember


Kingswood bests John Stark in Alumni Field opener



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CAM WHITCOMB scrambles for more yards against John Stark Sept. 3. Kathy Sutherland. (click for larger version)
September 06, 2010
WOLFEBORO — There is no doubt that it was a game that the Kingswood football team badly wanted to win. It was just a matter of going out and doing it.

With the opening of Alumni Field, Kingswood's new multi-purpose turf field on Friday, Sept. 3, the Knights had a chance to make a bit of history with a win.

And the boys in green and white took care of business and made sure that the fans that turned out for the opening night of the new facility went home smiling.

"One of the things I told the kids is, you don't want to lose that game," coach Matt Jozokos said after his team recorded the 29-6 win over John Stark. "It's time to put your own footprint. We've been knocking on the door."

As the weeks leading up to the game progressed, the Knights found the quarterback battle that was shaping up in the preseason disappeared, as injuries to Kohl Meyers and Ethan Ball, both players who could've seen time at the position, knocked both of them out of contention for the job.

That put the ball in the hands of Cam Whitcomb, and he put any doubts to rest, as he ran and tossed his way up the field to lead the Knights to the win.

"We went into it figuring we'd be working three of them out," Jozokos said. He noted that they all brought different things to the position and with Ball still able to work on the end, Whitcomb had another weapon at his disposal when he climbed under center.

After an opening ceremony honoring all those who helped to make the field a reality, the Knights came out and did absolutely nothing on their first offensive drive of the season, and the John Stark defense got to the punter, giving the visitors a great scoring chance right off the bat.

While the Knight offense didn't generate anything, the Knight defense sparkled.

Everett Wyers and Matt Brewer made big stops on back-to-back runs by the Generals, but the visitors broke off an 11-yard run on fourth down to move the ball to the 13-yard line. However, big stops by Joe Irvine and Jake Vontz stuffed the Generals and then Vontz came up with a fumble recovery, giving the Knights the ball back at the 15-yard line.

This time, the Kingswood offense was in sync. Isaac Horton ran for six yards, then Whitcomb carried for 28 yards on second down, moving the ball near midfield. After a short Horton run, Whitcomb ran another 20 yards and a General penalty put the ball on the 15-yard line. Whitcomb promptly ran in for the touchdown with 5:05 to play, scoring the first touchdown on the new Alumni Field.

Whitcomb then hit Max Gustafson on the two-point conversion and it was 8-0 in favor of the Knights.

The Kingswood defense again shined, as Horton, Vontz and Brewer all had solid defensive plays to force Stark to go three and out.

Whitcomb ran for 22 yards on the first play from scrimmage for Kingswood's next drive, but a fumble on the next play gave the Generals the ball back at the 41-yard line. Vontz, Jacob Allen and Noah DeMaio had bit defensive plays, as did Wyers and the first quarter ended with Kingswood up 8-0.

The Generals took the first play from scrimmage in the second quarter into the end zone. However, the two-point conversion failed and the Knights still led 8-6.

Whitcomb returned the kickoff all the way to the 43-yard line and a penalty gave the Kngihts the ball on the 28-yard line.

However, the offense couldn't get in gear and John Stark got the ball back after four plays. BJ Smith and Horton made great defensive plays and Nick Dore stepped in front of a third-down pass and returned the interception to the 14-yard line. A penalty on the play put Kingswood inside the 10-yard line at the seven. Horton and Whitcomb both tried to get the ball in, but four tries later, the Generals had the ball back.

The Generals were able to move the ball up the field a bit easier than in previous drives, but big stops by Wyers and Irvine forced the Generals to punt away after they moved the ball down the field with four first downs.

Kingswood took over with their backs to the wall at the 17-yard line. Whitcomb hit Gustafson for four yards to start the drive, then pulled it down and carried for a first down at the 31-yard line. Whitcomb then carried again, this time rumbling 54 yards down the field, putting the Knights at the 15-yard line with 1:30 to play. Whitcomb hit Gustafson for a couple yards. A penalty pushed Kingswood back, but two plays later Whitcomb hit Gustafson again and a penalty put Kingswood at the five-yard line. Horton took it from there and pushed into the end zone with 23.6 seconds left in the half. Kingswood missed the two-point conversion, but still led 14-6.

DeMaio picked up a big sack on the final play of the half, keeping Kingswood's lead at 14-6 at the break.

John Stark fumbled the first play from scrimmage in the second half, as Nate Nicholas recovered the ball and Horton and Whitcomb needed just four plays to take the ball into the end zone, with Horton getting the score. Tom Hackett carried in for the two-point conversion and Kingswood led 22-6 with 10:07 to play in the third.

Vontz recovered yet another John Stark fumble on the next possession, but Kingswood could not get the offense into the end zone and turned the ball over. However, John Stark was equally ineffective at getting the ball in the end zone. The third quarter ended with Kingswood up 22-6, but John Stark still had the ball.

Five plays into the fourth quarter, Smith made a big stop on fourth down to get the Knights the ball back and Kingswood began moving the ball down the field. Horton, Ball, Whitcomb and Gustafson all had carries for the Knights and a penalty brought back an apparent touchdown. However, Whitcomb was knocked out of the game on a carry to the outside and on the next play, Slayd Dore couldn't grasp the ball on the snap and John Stark recovered.

The Generals went nowhere, however, as Smith, Brewer, Irvine and Ball all had great defensive plays, allowing Kingswood to get the ball back.

Whitcomb hit Irvine with a big pass on fourth and 13 on the ensuing drive and one play later, Horton took the ball into the end zone with 2:11 to play. Horton then booted the extra point for the 29-6 lead.

An Allen sack helped secure the win as Kingswood kept John Stark from doing anything on the final possession.

"I'm thrilled with the offensive and defensive lines tonight," Jozokos said. "We really needed that."

He gave Stark credit for playing a solid game, saying the misdirection plays killed his defense, as the kids didn't stay home on defense.

"We were physical, we hit people," Jozokos said. "We're going to be a lot better off than we have been in the past if we play this way."

Of course, the next game on the schedule is a trip to the Land of Lenahan to take on defending Division IV champion Plymouth.

"We fully expect to win every game, that's the goal and anything less, we should be disappointed," Jozokos said, noting that he hoped the kids weren't intimidated going into Plymouth.

"The focus has been, be who you are," the Knight mentor said.

Kingswood will head to Plymouth for a 1:30 p.m. start on Saturday, Sept. 11.

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