Game of the Week -- Knights move to 5-0 in district opener
By NICK McQUEEN
SYLVAN GROVE -- Given the result of Friday night's game against Sylvan-Lucas High School, it might be hard to imagine Victoria coach Doug Oberle saying his team had some things to work on.
But missing three senior starters due to injury or illness for the Eight-Man Division II, District 7 opener, Oberle said the Knights lacked intensity and were out-hustled early in the game. Still, the Knights moved to 5-0 with a 58-8 win against the winless Mustangs.
"They did a good job and came out ready to play," Oberle said of Sylvan-Lucas. "I really thought they played with more intensity than we did."
The Knights were without senior quarterback Sam Ottley, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last week; senior lineman Tanner Hobbs, who had his appendix removed; and senior Clayton Roth, who is still nursing a collarbone injury.
Sophomore Brady Dinkel made his first start at quarterback, and a host of other underclassmen made their way onto the field.
"Our young guys have to learn we need to come prepared," Oberle said. "That's my fault as a coach. We have to do a better job of making sure those young guys are prepared."
The Knights' second-year starting tailback, junior Bryan Dome, though, proved too much for the Mustangs to handle. On the game's opening drive, Dome broke free for a 28-yard gain.
The run set up a 8-yard scoring pass from Dinkel to junior Noah Dreiling and a 6-0 Knights lead.
On the next series, Dome had a 55-yard run that set up a 3-yard scoring run for Dinkel and a 12-0 lead.
"He's a good player and he's been doing that for a couple years now," Sylvan-Lucas coach Ben Labertew said of Dome. "He's good. He's quick and he has good balance and cuts well. Plus, their line does such a great job."
The Mustangs got things going with their passing game and junior quarterback Collin Herold. Oberle mentioned he thought the Knights' defense might be more hurt by injuries, and the Mustangs were able to move the ball well all night, including on their second possession. Sylvan-Lucas had been dealing with injuries as well, but did get junior fullback Kelvin Lopez back, though Labertew said he was not 100 percent.
Herold led a 55-yard drive with two long pass plays and a 13-yard run. He capped the drive with a 3-yard score.
"We did some good things here and there," Labertew said. "Early on, we made some key stops, but (Victoria's) a good football team.
"We talk bout our schedule being tough, but they've played a tough schedule too," he added. "They get after it. They're well-coached and they don't make mistakes."
Dome's 147 rushing yards on just nine carries made a big difference as well. On the Knights' next drive, he broke loose for 26 yards over left guard to set up a 3-yard scoring run for sophomore Lane Kisner. Then after Dinkel intercepted a fourht-down fake punt attempt, Dome had a 15-yard run at the end of the first quarter. It set up his 5-yard scoring run as time expired for a 28-8 Knights lead.
"Me, and everyone else that filled a spot (had to step up)," Dome said. "We knew they were pretty good. ...Knew they would come out and fight hard, needing to get a first win."
At the start of the second quarter, Herold engineered another long drive and had the Mustangs in a second-and-goal situation from the 21-yard line after a penalty. Dinkel grabbed his second pick of the game, though, in the end zone, but gave it right back on an interception. The Knights also lost a fumble in the second quarter, but played well enough defensively to keep the Mustangs off the board.
Dinkel had trouble with handoffs all night. It led to three fumbles (two lost) for the Knights. Oberle said that was part of a rough week of practice for Victoria.
"It's different being the backup and knowing you might get a few plays here and there, then knowing you're the guy," Oberle said. "This week in practice, two days I don't think we practiced very well.
"But, that's on me. We have do a better job of preparing," he added.
One fumble came on first-and-goal when the Knights were driving late in the second quarter with the possibilty of ending the game at halftime via the 45-point mercy rule. It took just three possessions, though, in the third quarter to put the game away. Dinkel found Kisner for 15 yards, then Dome for 23 yards, before he again connected with Dome for a 20-yard TD. Then, Kisner cappped off the game with a 12-yard score when the Mustangs failed on fourth down.
Victoria plays host to 0-5 Otis-Bison on Friday, while Sylvan-Lucas travels to 2-3 Ransom-Western Plains.
Dome had four catches for 53 yards, three of which were short throws. He averaged 16 yards per carry, most out of the option. "We probably didn't really need to pass that much," Dome said. "We probably could have run the option all night." ... Dinkel finished 6 of-10 passing for 76 yards with an interception. Herold was 7-of-24 passing for 78 yards with two picks. ... Dinkel finished with 62 rushing yards on nine carries, and Kisner added 72 yards on 13 touches.