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Keeney powers Knights

October 07, 2002|by MARK KELLER

"They're a better conditioned team then we are. I've got a lot of guys that were out of gas in the fourth quarter, but they left it all on the field."

Keeney ran 41 times for 282 yards and four touchdowns, seemingly picking up more steam as the game went on and the Railroaders tired.

"One of their kids walked by and said, 'You beat us because of the weight room,'" Ambrose said. "And he said it totally unprompted. The kids work all summer together, four days a week. That's where that camaraderie comes into it."

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The Knights (4-1, 3-1) needed that camaraderie Friday, especially after falling behind 14-0 in the first two minutes of the game.

On the first play after the opening kickoff, Brandon Dykes ran a sweep to his left, broke one tackle and cut back right on his way to an 88-yard touchdown run.

Just three plays into Middletown's first drive, Tyler Lushbaugh threw a pass toward the Brunswick sideline that was picked off by A.J. Smothers and returned 22 yards for another score.

"The book on us is that we get up on teams and win a lot," Ambrose said. "Very seldom are we down 14-0 in the first half. That just doesn't happen too often."

It took Middletown some time to get its offense going, but the Knights took advantage of a short Brunswick punt late in the first quarter to start on the road back.

Keeney capped a six-play, 47-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown run up the middle. Keeney carried four times on the drive - a sign of things to come for the Knights.

Dykes pushed Brunswick (2-3, 1-3) back in front by two touchdowns after a Middletown punt pinned the Railroaders deep in their own territory. He carried up the middle, bounced off one would-be tackler, cut to his right and outran two defenders for his second 88-yard touchdown run of the night.

The Knights again took advantage of a short field, recovering an onside kick attempt at the Brunswick 45. Five plays later, Lushbaugh scored on a 2-yard run to cut the deficit to 21-14 at halftime.

The second half was all Middletown and - almost literally - all Keeney. The Knights ran 27 offensive plays in the second half. Keeney ran the ball 24 times and scored on runs of 4, 9 and 14 yards.

"We came out real slow at the start and knew we had to get something going in the second half," Keeney said. "We knew we could move the ball on them."

The Knights defense tightened up, too. Brunswick gained just 24 total yards in the second half. Dykes, who had 176 yards on his two touchdown runs, finished the game with 178 yards on 19 carries.

"You know what's going on, what they do well and what they're going to do a lot of," Mitchell said. "It was a real struggle of wills, and tonight their will prevailed."

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