September 23, 2021

Grant County Herald

Community news from the prairie to the lakes

WCA/A Knights open season 2-0

WCA/A junior Anthony Sykora scampers 29 yards to paydirt in the first half against Barnesville Friday, Sept. 3, in Barrett.

The West Central Area /Ashby Knight football team has opened the 2021 season 2-0. The Knights beat Barnesville 14-12 in the season home opener Friday, Sept. 3, and then topped Staples-Motley on the road, 48-12, Friday, Sept. 10.

The Knights, 2-0, are back in action Friday, Sept. 17 when they host Pillager, in Barrett.

WCA – 14
Barnesville – 12

The West Central Area/Ashby Knights football team overcame a 12-8 halftime deficit and scored with 1:05 remaining in the game to hand the Barnesville Trojans a 14-12 defeat on Friday, Sept. 3, in Barrett.

“The biggest positive was the mental toughness the team showed,” Knight coach Nate Wood said of the opener. “Barnesville beat us 41-0 last year and it would have been really easy to feel resigned to that again. But they never gave up and kept playing hard for the entire game. I thought we controlled the line of scrimmage defensively which is a tough task against Barnesville’s big offensive line.”

The Knights finished with 214 total yards (143 passing, 71 rushing) and the Trojans had 153 yards, all on the ground. Barnesville lost 3 fumbles in the game and the only Knight turnover was an interception.

Evan Paulson was 8-for-14 for 143 and the game-winning touchdown pass to Torin Olson of 46 yards. Anthony Sykora had seven carries for 34 yards and a 29-yard rushing touchdown. He also had a catch for eight yards. Olson led the receiving corps with four catches for 118 yards.

Carson Spangler led the Knight defense with six solo tackles and one sack while Beau Robinson had four solo tackles and a sack.

WCA – 48
Staples-Motley – 12

Junior Anthony Sykora ran for 187 yards and four touchdowns on Friday, Sept. 10 to lead the West Central Area/Ashby Knights to a 48-12 win over the Staples-Motley Cardinals. 

Hunter Norby opened the scoring the the Knights on a 38-yard scamper in the first quarter. Norby finished with 117 yards on the ground.

WCA/Ashby scored 28 second quarter points to take a 34-0 halftime lead.  Sykora scored on an 11 yard run, followed by a two-point conversion pass from Evan Paulson to Mattson Hoff, which gave the Knights a 14-0 lead.  Paulson found Ryder Staples on a 33-yard strike next, followed by another two-point conversion pass from Brady Lindquist to Norby, and the Knights gained a 22-0 edge.  Sykora’s three-yard run made it 28-0 and a 10-yard pass from Paulson to Torin Olson completed the first half scoring.

To open the second half, Sykora broke loose for a 45-yard touchdown run and Paulson carried the ball into the end zone for the two-point conversion to give the Knights a 42-0 lead.

Staples-Motley were finally able to put points on the board with back-to-back-to-back scores to trim the deficit to 42-18.

The Knights got one touchdown back as Sykora recorded his fourth and final touchdown, on a 15 yard run, putting the final score at 48-12.

West Central Area/Ashby compiled 398 yards of offense with 333 coming on the ground.  Paulson completed 3-of-5 passes for 65 yards and he ran for 34 yards on four carries.  

Defensively, Olson had a pair of interceptions and Sykora had one. Hoff recorded a sack while leading the team with five solo tackles and two assisted tackles. Both Hoff and Cole Anderson had two tackles for loss against Staples-Motley.