McKnight’s TD reception fuels 20-17 win over Eagles
As many great receivers as MacArthur fans witnessed walk across the stage at graduation, there may have been some concern about youngsters stepping up tall this year. Well, consider that no longer a problem because Gary McKnight showed he could step up tall, really tall.
In the final seconds of last night's battle with Eisenhower, the lanky junior receiver jumped high in the air to wrestle a pass away from two Eisenhower defenders, then regained his balance and raced into the end zone to complete an amazing 51-yard scoring play with 45 seconds remaining in the game to lift Mac to a stunning 20-17 victory over the Eagles.
"We know that Gary has great leaping ability, so we thought we would give him a shot and he just went up there and beat those guys to the ball," Mac coach Brett Manning said. "When I saw Ricky (quarterback McCarty) lay the ball out there perfectly I thought we had a good chance to complete the pass, but the fact he was able to keep running and score was an amazingly athletic play on his part. It was just one of those plays."
As excited as Manning was about the win, he had some empathy for Ike coach Boone Copeland and his players.
"That is truly one of those games you hate to see anyone lose because both teams deserved to win," Manning said. "But we just kept hanging around and our defense did it's part there to give us a chance. And, our young offensive guards were struggling to slow down their rush, so we decided not to do any more drop-back passes there at the end. I told those young guards to, 'go out there and find a way to give us an extra second, we have to slow them down on the rush to have a chance.' Sure enough they gave Ricky just enough time on those last two passes."
Indeed, McCarty didn't just complete the TD pass, he also fired a 28-yard completion to Miguel Rosario that moved the Highlanders from their own 20 to their own 48. On that pass McCarty had Ike rushers all over him but still got the ball downfield to his receiver. On second down he was actually hit again, this time just moving the ball about a yard upfield to the Mac 49 to set up the stunning score.
By all rights, Mac's late touchdown might not have mattered had the Eagles been able to convert on one of several golden scoring chances in the game.
Late in the first half the Eagles failed to convert on good field position when Brandon Schmidt missed on a 37-yard field goal attempt, then with 5:31 left in the game Ike's Jarvis Jackson was stuffed on a fourth-and-goal at the Mac 1-yard line.