Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

November 14, 2012

Knights fly past Faulkner for first winning season


Nov. 14, 2012 — The Kentucky Christian football team put an exclamation point on the 2012 season with a 18-15 come-from-behind victory at Faulkner University to secure its first winning season in program history.

Back from injury, sophomore quarterback Graham Johnston made a big impact, throwing for 168 yards and a touchdown, while running for another 56 in the win. The Knights finish the regular season at 7-4 overall (3-2 in the Mid-South Conference East Division), while Faulkner dropped to 6-5.

After a scoreless first quarter, KCU got on the board twice in the second stanza with a 30-yard field goal by sophomore kicker Andrew Slikker and a 20-yard connection from Johnston to junior WR Marcus Hicks to put the Knights up 10-0.

Faulkner snuck in a 22-yard field goal from Hunter Kennamer right before the half to cut into the lead to 10-3 at the break.

Following another scoreless 15 minutes in the third quarter, the Eagles capitalized on the first play of the fourth on a 45-yard touchdown pass from Josh Hollingsworth to Steven Dawson to tie the game at 10.

Faulkner flew into a two-point lead after tackling freshman wide receiver Hayden Welch in the end zone on the first offensive play of the next drive. The Eagles extended their lead to 15-10 on their next offensive opportunity, thanks to a 25-yard field goal by Kennamer.

Down five, head coach Mike Furrey called Johnston's number again late in the game and he delivered. The Plain City, Ohio, native came up clutch on the go-ahead drive, going for 4-of-6 for 55 yards through the air and added 13 more on the ground, before aggravating his ankle injury on a third-and-goal play from the three-yard line.

Facing a fourth down with two yards to go for a winning season, Furrey put the ball in the hands of freshman quarterback Cole Cooper, literally. Cooper punched in the pigskin from two yards out to put KCU up 16-15 with 6:01 left in the game. The South Portsmouth product came up big on the next play as well, hitting senior tight end Rance Hughes for the two-point conversion, to put the Knights up 18-15.

The KCU defense rose to the occasion on the next Eagle possession, forcing a three and out, keyed by an eight-yard sack by sophomore linebacker Dylan Romero. Romero, a native of Cincinnati, had a monster day with 10 tackles, including nine solo stops, with 6.5 tackles for loss and 0.5 sacks.

The Knights' offense got the ball back and ran down the final 4:42 of the game to cap the benchmark season for the fourth-year program.

Johnston ended his second season wearing the red and black completing 106 -of-217 passes for 1,349 yards and 7 touchdowns to go along with 490 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns. Stepping up in Johnston's absence, Cooper passed for 545 yards and 2 touchdowns and ran for another 193 yards, with 6 scores. Defensively, the Knights were led by Marvin Newkirk Jr. with 45 tackles, 14.5 of which were for losses, 10.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and 4 fumble recoveries.