In 2017, defense was the bugaboo for the Sacred Heart football team.
However, early on in 2018 defense appears to be the Knights’ strength as Sacred Heart rode its defense to a 9-7 win over NCAA foe, Ellsworth on Friday night.
Sacred Heart would get the scoring going first following an Ellsworth fumble as David Anderson found Trace Leners for his third TD this year on 12-yard pass to make it 7-0 with 4:15 left in the first, Sacred Heart leading.
The Knights held the lead all the way in to the early part of the second quarter when the Knights fumbled inside of their own 5-yard-line. Ellsworth recovered and took over deep in Sacred Heart territory.
Ellsworth was held out of the end zone on its first three downs to make it 4th-and-goal from the Knights’ 1-yard-line. The Bearcats QB, Morgan Kelley, followed his blockers across the goal line to tie things up 7-7, which ended up being the halftime score.
Sacred Heart’s offense was able to move the ball up and down the field all night–especially in the third quarter–however, the Knights would consistently shoot themselves in the foot with drive-stalling fumbles.
The score was still 7-7 midway through the fourth when Sacred Heart pinned Ellsworth back on its own 1-yard-line off of a Leners punt.
On 3rd-and-long from the 1, Ellsworth rolled the pocket in the back of the end zone when Kelley misfired on a pass to Bransen Schulte. But, a penalty marker was thrown on the play in the end zone. The call: holding in the end zone, resulting in a safety and two points for Sacred Heart to make it 9-7 with 7:13 left.
Sacred Heart was unable to ice the game offensively, giving the Bearcats one more chance. Ellsworth marched the ball down the field to the Sacred Heart 33-yard-line with under one minute left.
On 4th-and-9 though, a Kelley pass targeting Schulte was batted away by Sacred Heart giving the Knights their first win in 2018.
Sacred Heart (1-2, 1-2 NCAA) ended their four-game losing skid to Ellsworth, resulting in the Knights’ first win in the series since 2013. The Knights called on their defense several times on Friday night and the unit did not disappoint.
Ellsworth (1-2, 1-2 NCAA) only mustered 44 yards of total offense on Friday. The Bearcats host Minneapolis next Friday.
Next up for Sacred Heart, the Knights travel to face Hillsboro (2-1) on Friday. Tune in to FM 104.9 for live coverage of Sacred Heart Knights football.