ALAH blitzes Tri-County 41-7

by Tim Hendershot
Posted 4/5/21

ARTHUR — The Arthur-Lovington-Atwood Hammond Knights running game blitzed the Tri-County Titans Friday, March 26, 41-7 in the Titans’ first game of the unusual football season.

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ALAH blitzes Tri-County 41-7


ARTHUR — The Arthur-Lovington-Atwood Hammond Knights running game blitzed the Tri-County Titans Friday, March 26, 41-7 in the Titans’ first game of the unusual football season.

This 2020-2021 high school football season for the Tri-County Titans has been the most unique in program history.

After making the IHSA Class 1A playoffs a year ago, the COVID-19 global pandemic put a halt to all sports, including Titan football activities until this spring when a shortened, all-Lincoln Prairie Conference schedule was going to be played without a post-season to be played as the pandemic continues.  With no guarantee that any football games could be played, Tri-County, along with all of the other high schools across the area, have been diligent in making sure that all of the players, coaches, and personnel have been safe according to guidance from the IHSA and IDPH.  

That diligence was put to the test a week ago as a positive COVID-19 test shutdown the Titans season opener at home against the Arcola Purple Riders as up to nine key starters among 16 players forced the game to be canceled. 

After clearing quarantine protocols, the Titans finally got to take the field on Friday night traveling to Wilson Field in Arthur to face the Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond Knights in a Lincoln Praire Conference contest. 

The Titans did however still had to play without the services of their all-conference senior running back Daniel Drake who was unavailable for the second straight week due to COVID-19 quarantine protocols.  Drake will be available for the first time against the Argenta-Oreana Bombers.  

Despite not having Drake, Tri-County knew it had to be next man up to take on a Knights team who came off of a 21-16 loss to the Cumberland Pirates. 

The Titans hoped to contain ALAH sophomore running back Kaden Feagin, who just received an offer to play for the University of Illinois and new head coach Bret Bielema.

As the ball kicked off, it was the strong running game of the Knights and missed opportunities by the Titans that led ALAH to a 41-7 win over the Titans, but giving Tri-County the need reps in game speed to get into a rhythm.

On the opening drive, Titans Coach Brian Anderson gambled on the first series trying to pull off a fake of a punt on fourth down. The Knights defense sniffed out the fake to take the ball over in Tri-County territory. 

Two plays later, Feagin got the handoff and went right, then cut back to the left to find an opening going 36 yards for the first touchdown of the contest at the 9:44 mark.  Aaron Likens connected on the extra point to make the score 7-0.

The Titans responded on their next series with an over seven minute drive that was powered by two strong runs by junior quarterback Jack Armstrong. The TCT quarterback also connected on a pass to junior tight end Greg Reese in that drive getting Tri-County all the way to the ALAH seven yard line.  The Knights defense rose to the challenge, stopping the drive at that point. The Titans came away empty leaving the score at 7-0 after the first 12 minutes of play.

In the second quarter the Titan defense stepped up on the second play of the stanza as Owen Knoebel took advantage of a mishandled handoff by the Knights to recover the ball at the ALAH 30 putting Tri-County in business. 

The Knights recovered quickly as Feagin capitalized on a Titans fumble to recover and get the ball right back a couple of plays later.  Two plays later, Feagin had his name called again taking the handoff scampering 50 yards for another touchdown at the 7:06 mark.  Likens hit the extra point to make the score 14-0.

After the next Titans drive stalled, ALAH struck quickly again going down the field and called Feagin’s number again at the 3:16 mark this time running 10 yards for his third touchdown.  Liken’s extra point made the score 21-0 which stood going into halftime.

The Knights got the ball to start the second half and didn’t waste any time moving quickly into Titans territory to the 36 yard line. 

From there at the 10:05 mark, the Knights went to the ground again as Finn Davison took the handoff and went to his right and marched in from 36 yards out for another ALAH score.  Likens nailed the extra point again making the score 28-0. 

The Titans looked like they were getting back into a rhythm on their next series as Armstrong found Payton Bell on a fourth and four play for a 17-yard pass to get into ALAH territory at the 46 to continue the drive.  That drive stalled which forced a Titans punt, which was fielded by Feagin at his own 20.  Feagin found a hole in the middle then went right finding a lane a return the punt 80 yards for the score for his fourth touchdown of the game.  Likens hit the extra point to put ALAH up 35-0 at the 5:16 mark.

After the Titans punted on their next series, ALAH went back to the ground again getting to the Titans five yard line.  From there, senior running back Billy Fifer took the handoff and went up the middle finding paydirt from five yards out with 2:25 left in the third quarter.  The extra point was missed keeping the score at 41-0 going into the final 12 minutes.  

With the game in running clock, the Titans used that time to keep their starters in to get into the game rhythm and capitalize with a slow, methodic 82-yard drive taking 9:35 seconds off the clock.  The Titans got all the way down to the Knights five yard line through a combination of tough running by freshman fullback John Kibler and a great catch by sophomore wide receiver Gaige Cox off a pass from Armstrong.  Three plays later at the 2:25 mark, Armstrong kept the ball on the option going to his left and went untouched for the first touchdown of the Titans season. Alex Acerra made the extra point make the final score 41-7 in favor of the Knights.

The Titans tallied 158 total yards of offense as Jack Armstrong finished 4 of 8 for 60 yards and had 10 carries for 26 yards and the lone score.  John Kibler had 18 touches for 55 yards and Collin Rhodes had nine carries for 9 yards.  Payton Bell had three catches for 23 yards and Owen Knoebel recorded a fumble recovery in the loss

The Knights finished with 306 total yards with Kaden Feagin had 200 total yards  — five carries for 120 yards and that 80 punt return - and four touchdowns. Finn Davison had six carries for 63 yards and a score while Billy Fifer had nine carries for 69 yards and a score.  Brady Borntreger was 1 of 3 passing for 19 yards in the win.