Knox Comeback Bid Falls Short at Eureka in Lincoln Bowl

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The Prairie Fire overcame a two-touchdown deficit, but a fourth quarter score by host Eureka College was the difference in a 21-17 win by the Red Devils on September 7 in the second annual Lincoln Bowl.

Knox (0-1) trailed 14-0 after Eureka quarterback Blake Robles connected with Dorell Baugh from 35 yards for their second touchdown at the 5:33 mark of the second quarter.

The Prairie Fire responded when sophomore quarterback Luke Oosterbaan (Palos Heights, IL, Marist) hit sophomore receiver Ilir Emini (Yorkville, IL, Yorkville) with a 69 yard touchdown pass to trim the deficit to 14-6 with 4:17 to play in the first half.  The Red Devils (0-1) blocked the extra point attempt by senior kicker Phil Tallman (Park Ridge, IL, Maine South) following the Knox score and maintained a 14-6 advantage at halftime.

The Prairie Fire tied the game at 14-14 on a 3 yard touchdown run and a two-point conversion by senior Derek Mortensen (Crystal Lake, IL, Crystal Lake South) with 6:32 left in the third quarter.

Knox took the lead for the first time in the game, 17-14, on a 20 yard field goal by Tallman.  The Prairie Fire fumbled the football at the Eureka 1 yard line on their previous possession, but junior Chaz Benton (Galesburg, IL, Galesburg) picked off a pass by Robles that led to a 10-play drive and 17 unanswered points by Knox.

The Red Devils' only score of the second half turned out to be the game-winner.  Matt Mogged caught a 9 yard pass from Robles for a touchdown with 6:03 to play.

Trailing 21-17, the Prairie Fire couldn't add to their point total in two final possessions of the contest.

Eureka keeps the Lincoln Bowl trophy with the victory, the third straight against Knox.

The Prairie Fire held the edge in total yards 300-276.  The Red Devils passed for 218 of their yards while Knox was balanced with 160 rushing and 140 yards through the air.

Mortensen ran for 115 yards while Emini had the biggest receiving game of his young career with 100 yards on four receptions.  Oosterbaan completed 9-of-20 passes with one interception.

Sophomore linebacker Mitch Weissenhofer (Homewood, IL, Marian Catholic) had a game-high 13 tackles for the Fire.  Fellow linebacker, senior Tom Discher (Woodstock, IL, Woodstock), finished with 11 tackles.  Junior Austin Finley (Galesburg, IL, Galesburg), who moved to the defensive line this season after playing on the offensive line, had a fine game with eight tackles – three for a loss – and one sack.

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