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Knights crush mistake-prone Tigers

– Brandon Mable was everywhere.

In the second quarter, the East Noble running back was in the end zone after breaking two tackles and leaping a pile of Warsaw defenders for a 13-yard score.

In the third, he was on top of a blocked punt in the end zone for another. Later in the quarter, he dashed around the outside for a 43-yard touchdown.

And in the fourth, he scooped up a fumble, sprinted 83 yards and got his fourth touchdown in the Knights’ 49-14 win Friday.

The 5-foot-10 speedster played most of the game because fellow running back Tyler Leazier went down with an injury on the game’s first play. He had 117 all-purpose yards to go with his defensive and special teams plays.

“He got it done,” East Noble coach Luke Amstutz said. “He competes, he hits, he runs the ball hard. He just had a spectacular game.”

Mable wasn’t the only showstopper Friday.

East Noble (2-0) shut down the Warsaw offense throughout the first half and gave up 71 yards of total offense over the first two quarters to the Tigers (1-1).

That let the Knights take an early lead off a couple explosive plays.

East Noble senior receiver Grey Fox broke off gains of 54 and 25 yards in the first half, the latter a catch on fourth-and-7 that turned into a touchdown.

It was 14-0 after Mable’s first score and a two-point conversion, and the defense made that two-score lead seem insurmountable.

Senior linebacker Jacob Brown nabbed an interception, the Knights dove on a bobbled snap for a fumble recovery and junior lineman Keaton Osborn and senior lineman Dustin Wells combined for a sack in the first half.

Warsaw senior running back Tristan McClone carried the ball 15 times, but a tightly packed East Noble defense limited him to 62 yards and only one rush of more than five yards. He finished with 96 yards on 21 carries.

“They played physical, they came up and hit, they were pretty assignment-sound, but there’s still areas of improvement for them,” Amstutz said of his squad.

The punt-block recovery came with 8:37 left in the third quarter, and with it a 21-0 deficit for Warsaw.

The Tigers managed to get back into it with two unanswered scores late in the third quarter, but after Mable’s 43-yard run with 1:23 remaining in the third, Warsaw deflated.

Mable made his fumble recovery with 10:54 left in the game to make it 42-14, and sophomore backup running back Nolan Wible ran in a score with 3:46 left.

The Knights now have two wins over Class 6A opponents this season: Friday’s victory and a 43-14 win against Northrop on Aug. 23.

“We got some real tough ones coming up here in the next few weeks,” said Armstutz, who opens conference play against Homestead next week. “It’s huge having two big wins over two quality opponents.”

smorrison@jg.net

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