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Mike Riehls

Early surge leads Knights to win



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Liggett quarterback Tommy Jackson, No. 4, eludes two would-be Lutheran Northwest tacklers during the fi rst half of the Knights’ MIAC win. Photo by Paul Kania
September 26, 2013
So far, so good for the University Liggett football team, which made it 2-for-2 in division games after beating Rochster Hills Lutheran Northwest 28-6 last weekend.

The host Knights jumped out to a quick 28-0 lead midway through the second quarter and cruised to the victory.

“The guys played well and it was nice to come out strong,” head coach Dan Cimini said. “We’re getting contributions from everyone and everyone believes in each other.”

The combination of sophomore quarterback Tommy Jackson and senior running back Darryl Lewis was unstoppable in the first half.

On the Knights’ first possession, Lewis ran for five yards and Jackson followed with runs of 4 and 3 yards. Jackson then hit senior wide receiver Lordanthony Grissom for a 40-yard gain to the Crusaders’ 13-yard line.

On the next play, Jackson ran in for a 13-yard touchdown. Freshman Connor McCarron kicked the extra point and it was 7-0 Knights.

On their next possession, freshman Charles Caine gained 12 yards on a run and sophomore Nick Gawel followed with a 21-yard run. Ending the drive was a 20-yard Jackson to Caine touchdown pass.

McCarron’s PAT made it 14-0 with 2:14 left in the opening quarter.

After recovering a fumble at the Northwest 28-yard line, Jackson completed a 24-yard pass to Grissom and on the next play ran in from 4 yards for a third touchdown in the first quarter.

The point-after was blocked, but the Knights had a 20-0 lead.

With 11:43 left in the second quarter, Lewis used his speed to get around the end and rush 38 yards for another touchdown. The two-point conversion gave the home team a 28-0 lead and it looked like the rout was on.

Northwest’s defense stiffened the its offense took control of the ball, using time-consuming drives.

However, each time the Crusaders drove into the Knights’ red zone, the defense came up with a big play to thwart the drive.

“We really didn’t have the ball due to Northwest’s ball control offense, but once again our defense made the plays,” Cimini said. “I’m proud of the guys, but we have to focus this week for a big game against a good Southfield Christian team.

Jackson completed 6-of-13 passes for 100 yards and one touchdown, plus gained 123 yards on 15 carries with two touchdowns.

Lewis also gained more than 100 yards, netting 103 on 13 carries, and Grissom caught five passes for 80 yards.

“Northwest is a physical team and they took it right at us,” Cimini said. “Our defense played solid. We had a chance to put a couple more scores on the board, but we missed some fly passes.”

Liggett improved to 2-0 in the Michigan Independent Athletic Conference and 2-2 overall.

Coming up next is a 4:30 p.m. home game Friday, Sept. 27, against Southfield Christian, which is also unbeaten in the MIAC.

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