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Knights fall behind in battle of unbeatens

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KNIGHTDALE — Grimsley was as good as advertised last Friday night, racing out to a big lead at Knightdale, then holding off a furious fourth quarter rally to secure a 47-33 win over the previously undefeated Knights.

Both teams had their moments, but the 10th-ranked Whirlies had more, especially junior tight end Lawson Albright, who caught six passes for 65 yards and four touchdowns.

The Whirlies started quickly, recovering a short kickoff and scoring their first touchdown a few plays later on Quan Nora’s 4-yard run. An option pitch hit the ground on Knightdale’s first possession, and Grimsley linebacker Sincere Burnette scooped it up and outran everyone to the end zone to give the Whirlies a 14-0 lead minutes into the game.

The Knightdale offense struggled most of the night against a quick and efficient Grimsley defense, but finally found some rhythm late in the first quarter. Quarterback Dax Hardy hit Jerome Washington on a pass over the middle to the 3-yard line. Trevion Cooley scored from there one play later to make the score 14-6 at the end of the first quarter.

Grimsley quarterback Christofer Zellous connected with Albright, son of former UNC offensive lineman Ethan Albright, twice in the second quarter for touchdowns, making the halftime score 28-6.

The Knights defense came out after the break and showed some fight, getting stops on several possessions in the third quarter, but the offense continued to have trouble moving the ball. The running backs had trouble finding room and receivers couldn’t get open as much down the field, leading to a number of sacks.

Cooley finally found a crease late in the third quarter when he burst through the line and weaved through the defense for a 50-yard touchdown. Albright’s third and fourth touchdown catches made the score 41-13 early in the fourth quarter when the Knights offense finally came alive.

Hardy had some success throwing screen passes to backs and receivers. Running back Brandon Ricks caught one of those passes, broke a few tackles and scored from 27 yards out. Freshman quarterback Micah Sumter entered the game in the fourth quarter and provided a spark, going 4-of-4 passing. He hit tight end Kameron Davis with a 35-yard touchdown. He moved the Knights downfield quickly for another score after a Grimsley fumble, with Ricks getting the touchdown on a misdirection run from the five to end the scoring.

The Knights fall to 5-1 with the loss and have a week off before they travel to defending state champion Wake Forest to start NAC 6 conference play next Friday at 7 p.m. Grimsley is now 6-0 and plays East Forsyth at home next week.