Knott advances to championship with 7-0 overtime win
By JASON KROMPINGER
It was a fitting end for the scrappy Fisher squad that had in the previous week toppled a No. 1 seed in order to earn the spot on the field against Knott to fight for a spot in the championship game.
A tough defensive display by both squads throughout the entire game forced two overtimes, but in the end Knott pulled out a 7-0 victory by scoring in the second OT and knocking away a pass on Fisher's last attempt to seal the victory.
"Our team is really up right now," Knott quarterback Mario Suarez said. "We're excited to be playing in the stadium for the championship next week."
The stalemate that the game would turn out to be was apparent from the first few possessions of the game by either team. The Green Wave picked up a first down on their first play from scrimmage, but after two drives earned them six yards, they were stuffed on the next play and were forced to punt.
Knott went three and out on their first possession, as did Fisher on their next attempt at a drive.
Once the Juggernauts had the ball in their hands on their second drive, they could not move it anywhere consistently because of a barrage of penalties against the offense. A draw by Suarez on first down for a good gain was called back due to a clip. That made it first-and-15. A dead ball foul against Knott's O-Line pushed the ball back five more yards, for 1st-and-20.
The offense seemed to find a rhythm on the next four plays, but penalties and incomplete passes ended up stalling the drive.
Things began to get sloppy later in the half. After Fisher recovered a Knott fumble, Fisher fumbled themselves on their second play. Fisher got the ball back after they picked off a Knott pass.
"Our corners, especially Terry McKelroy and Jim Coven, played great," said Suarez.
The half ended with the coaches shaking their heads.
The second half began with the teams trading punts, and in fact no drive throughout the entire second half got either team into the other's red zone. It wasn't until the start of overtime, when the ball was placed at the opponents' 10 and each team gets a chance to score, had either team been that close to the end zone.
Fisher started off with the ball in OT, and after three plays turned up no yards, a field goal attempt was blocked. On Knott's try, a run by Virtue picked up five yards to bring them to the five-yard line, but he was stuffed on the next play and lost the yards he had just gained. Third down went for minimal gain, and the field goal attempt sailed wide left to force a second overtime.
Knott started with the ball and promptly scored on a TD pass from Suarez to Smith in the corner of the end zone. The extra point was good, forcing Fisher to score to force a third OT.
But a Fisher run was stopped cold on first down, a keeper gave them five, and a broken up option put the Green Wave in a do-or-die fourth and five. Quarterback Zack Allen rolled right and zipped it to his man in the front corner of the end zone. As the ball touched the hands of the receiver, two Knott defenders hammered him, jarring the ball loose and to the grass.
The 'Nauts emerged victorious and look forward to a showdown with the Sorin Otters in Notre Dame Stadium next week.
All Sports Stories for Tuesday, November 9, 1999