By Nick Gonnella
---- — The North Decatur football team found itself in a defensive struggle through the first quarter of play at Knightstown Friday night.
Despite scoring twice in the fourth quarter, the Chargers suffered a 33-14 loss and fell to 2-2 on the season.
After a scoreless first quarter, Knightstown broke through first with a pair of touchdown runs inside the 10 yard line. The Panthers then scored on a 42-yard run to cap the first-half offense.
Two more long scoring runs, 51 yards and 45 yards, put the game out of reach in the third quarter. North trailed 33-0 entering the fourth quarter. The Charger defense kept Knightstown off the scoreboard in the final 12 minutes.
Derek Hocker scored from seven yards out and senior Grant Ricke’s point-after made it 33-7. Senior Clay Bedel went long and scored on Andrew Hocker’s 65-yard touchdown pass, making it 33-13. Grant Ricke added the extra point for the final margin.
North ran 60 plays offensively to the Panthers’ 48, but Knightstown doubled the output 344-147. The hosts only needed to pass once, a 14-yard completion. The Panthers racked up 360 yards on the ground.
Andrew Hocker completed 4-of-12 passes for 93 yards and the touchdown, while senior Brock Ricke passed 4-for-7 for 45 yards. The Chargers passed 8-for-19 for 138 yards combined.
North gained 52 rushing yards on 28 carries.
Rushing stats (carries-yards): Lane Geis 9-31; D. Hocker 8-30; Josh Weintraut 1-4; Will Jarman 1-0; D. Meyer 2-(-1); B. Ricke 5(-5); A. Hocker 2(-7).
Receiving (average): Weintraut 4-41 (10.2); C. Bedel 3-80 (26.7); Evan Wallpe 1-17.
Defense (full-assist): E. Wallpe 4-1; Alex Crowe 3-3; C. Bedel 4-0; Matt Harrison 2-3; G. Ricke 3-0; L. Geis 3-0; Weisenbach 2-2; D. Meyer 2-1; Stephen Nobbe 2-0; Kyle Kramer 1-2; Adam Kunkel 1-1; Weintraut 1-1; Jarman 0-1; C. Peters 0-1.
Punting: D. Meyer 5-147, 29.4 avg; 1 inside 20; long of 44; G. Ricke 1-19.
The Chargers return home to play Milan (1-3) Friday in a Mid-Indiana Football Conference clash.
Contact Nick Gonnella at (812) 663-3111, x7003.