High School Football

Big plays help carry Althoff past Triad in heavyweight battle

Althoff's Keenen Young talks about finishing an undefeated season

Young talks about the 33-21 win over Triad
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Young talks about the 33-21 win over Triad

After not attempting a single pass all night, the ground-hugging Triad Knights felt Althoff’s defensive backs would not be suspecting one with the game on the line late in the fourth quarter.

Triad was driving and threatening to tie it or take the lead when Althoff’s Edwyn Brown made a diving interception in the end zone Friday to help the Crusaders escape with a 33-21 victory in a battle of unbeaten teams.

One play after the interception, Althoff’s Malik Easley found a seam and blazed an 80-yard trail to the end zone with 1:41 remaining to clinch the Crusaders’ fourth unbeaten regular season in school history.

“With all the great football teams we’ve had it means a lot,” Althoff coach Ken Turner said. “It just shows how hard these guys have worked. This is a tough environment and we played in some tough environments this year.”

KEY PLAY

Triad sent senior running back Adam Nelson deep over the middle on a play-action fake and he got behind the safety, but Brown came flying in from his cornerback spot to make a big play.

“I reacted to the ball. He overthrew it and the player couldn’t get it,” said Brown, who picked off a pass thrown by Triad quarterback Tommy Bauer. “Coach (Austin)Frazier (defensive coordinator) just told me to keep on the lookout for it, so I did. He told me to stay back a little more.

“It hit my shoulder pads and I just held it on my shoulder pads.”

Althoff senior Keenen Young was beaming with pride about the pick.

“The pass was unexpected, but Ed made a great play on the ball,” Young said. “He came up with it and it was clutch.”

We had them on the ropes. They made a play and we didn’t. We throw a better pass ... he was wide open and that’s a touchdown and we win by one. To be that close and to have it snatched away is to their credit.

Triad coach Paul Bassler

CLASH OF UNBEATENS

The game definitely lived up to the hype as Nelson broke loose for 205 yards and three TDs as the Knights (8-1) were successful running the ball (307 yards on 52 carries) and trading touchdowns with the Crusaders (9-0).

“We had them on the ropes,” Triad coach Paul Bassler said. “They made a play and we didn’t. We throw a better pass ... he was wide open and that’s a touchdown and we win by one. To be that close and to have it snatched away is to their credit. That’s what it boiled down to.

“It was two good football teams that were both 8-0 for a reason. We slugged it out with them. I know a lot of people thought we were going to lose by three touchdowns and they were going to run all over over and throw it all over us and all this (stuff). “

Althoff made the Knights pay with big plays all night.

The pass was unexpected, but Ed made a great play on the ball. He came up with it and it was clutch.

Althoff senior Keenen Young on teammate Edwyn Brown

The Crusaders got a 67-yard TD pass from Jordan Augustine to C.J. Coldon, a 49-yard TD run by Jaylon Bester, a 24-yard TD pass to Young and the 80-yard run by Easley.

FIRST HALF EXPLOSION

Althoff struck first on a 67-yard touchdown pass to Coldon, but Triad tied it on the first of two long TD runs by Nelson. Following a 9-yard punt by Bester, Nelson scored on a counter play that carried him 33 yards and into the end zone.

Bester atoned for his earlier mistake when he broke off a 49-yard TD run, but Nelson topped that by shaking free at the line and rambling 70 yards for another touchdown as the Knights tied it 14-14.

Althoff took a 21-14 lead with 58 seconds remaining in the first half when Young got behind the defense for a 24-yard TD pass from Augustine.

Nelson fired off a 40-yard TD run early in the second half, but Althoff regained the lead on an 8-yard run by Bester with 6:24 remaining.

Norm Sanders: 618-239-2454, @NormSanders

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