ANDERSON TOWNSHIP – On a warm Indian summer evening at Brown Stadium, the Withrow Tigers denied Anderson a “W” at home with a come-from-behind 39-27 victory. Senior Javon Knaff had two touchdown passes and senior Rashaun O’Neal ran for two scores for the Tigers.
Down 27-26 in the fourth quarter, Withrow regained the lead when Knaff fired a bullet to senior D’Vonte Guyton on 2nd and 34 from their own 24-yard line. Guyton scurried down the sideline 76 yards for the go-ahead score.
Later, O’Neal put the icing on the cake with an 18-yard run from the shotgun, and Withrow went on to win by a dozen.
The Tigers drew first blood 39 seconds into the game when receiver O’Neal took the direct snap from center and swung wide for a 56-yard gallop to the Promised Land.
Anderson’s first drive started slow before sophomore quarterback Jay Volpenhein found senior receiver Connor Wheeldon near the end zone. The Redskins tried to shove him in, but were rewarded on the next play when senior Patrick Johnson scored from two yards out.
A little over four minutes later, Anderson took their first lead in a game in almost a month when Volpenhein connected with seniors Justin Dornbach and Kyle Rogers, then danced his way four yards to put the Redskins up 14-7 after the extra point.
The Tigers launched another scoring drive to end the first quarter with Isaiah Murph surfing three yards to knot the game at 14. They kept the momentum and took the lead in the second quarter with a 3rd and 20 strike from Knaff to senior Elijah Willis. The extra point failed, but Withrow led 20-14.
Late in the second quarter, Anderson struck back by air with Volpenhein hitting senior Nick Vosel from 50 yards away. With the point after, Anderson led 21-20.
Again, it was short lived. A fumbled snap gave Withrow the ball on the Anderson 23 before halftime where Knaff hit senior Devonte Martin. At the break, the Tigers led 26-21.
There was no scoring in the third frame, but Volpenhein put Anderson up with 10:02 remaining hitting a wide-open Trevor Porta from the 24. The Redskins missed the two-point try, but led 27-26. The 27 points was their season high.
It also was where their scoring stopped as the two teams traded fumbles, then Withrow tacked on the final two touchdowns to snare a happy ride on the bus back to Hyde Park.
Withrow goes to 4-5 (3-4 ECC) and will host Glen Este Oct. 30. Anderson drops to 1-8 (1-5 ECC) and wraps the season up on Senior Night on Oct. 30.
PLAY OF THE GAME: It appeared Anderson had Withrow in a difficult position with a second and 34 from their own 24-yard line with 8:29 remaining. Instead, Javon Knaff and D’Vonte Guyton hooked up on a 76-yard score which would prove to be the game winner.
PLAYER (S) OF THE GAME: Withrow senior Javon Knaff and Rashaun O’Neal. Both lined up at quarterback with Knaff heaving touchdowns and O’Neal running for them.
VIEW FROM THE SIDELINES: For Withrow, it was their first win in nearly a month when they defeated Walnut Hills 31-7. Coach Ryan Drake’s Tigers proved to be the more resilient team on the night.
“I’m pretty happy with our performance,” he said. “Offensively, we did some good things. Defensively, we did some good things at times and some bad things at times, but it’s a big win.”
The Tigers have had a big turnaround since last season, when they were winless due to some forfeitures. Afterward, there was much celebrating.
“We have four wins, that’s an improvement from 0-10,” Drake said. “We’re hoping to be 5-5. I can’t wait until next week.”
1 2 3 4
Anderson 14 7 6 0
Withrow 14 12 0 13
W- O’Neal 56 yard run (Harris kick)
A-Johnson 2 yard run (Campbell kick)
A-Volpenhein 4 yard run (Campbell kick)
W- Murph 3 yard run (Harris kick)
W- Knaff 60 yard pass to Willis (kick missed)
A-Volpenhein 50 yard pass to Vosel (Campbell kick)
W- Knaff 23 yard pass to Martin (two-point conversion failed)
A-Volpenhein 24 yard pass to Porta (Campbell kick)
W- Knaff 76 yard pass to Guyton (two point failed)
W- O’Neal 18 yard run (Harris kick)