By Steve Woodhouse
Knoxville — The future of the Knoxville and Pella football programs met on the gridiron of Ken Locke Stadium Tuesday afternoon. The eighth-grade Dutch players defeated the young Panthers, 28-14.
The Panthers were unable to do anything on their opening possession and were forced to punt. Pella responded with a touchdown behind the legs of runners Ben Tysseling and Lukas Bruxvoort, as well as a huge first-down pass from Nick Finney to Tyson Wassenaar. Bruxvoort finished the drive with a touchdown up the middle on third down, with 3:23 left in the first quarter.
The Dutch held onto its 7-0 score through the end of the first quarter. Things looked up for the Panthers early in the second. An early interception was turned into a long touchdown when Trent Davis caught a pass and took it to the end zone. A two-point conversion attempt failed, and Pella held onto a lead of 7-6.
On the ensuing kickoff, Tysseling had a huge return to set the Dutch up in good field position. He ran it in for the second Dutch touchdown, taking the score to 14-6. Tysseling would strike again a few minutes later to increase Pella's lead to 21-6.
The Panther offense continued to struggle as it lost a fumble. This was eventually converted into a rushing touchdown for Dutch quarterback Nick Finney. That would be the Dutch's final score of the game, but it was enough to put the game away.
In the third, the Panthers' defense came to life. Dalton Stanley even recorded a sack on Finney.
With the ball back in Knoxville's hands, Davis took off on another long run, but was stopped just short of the goal line. Blake McClung scored on the quarterback sneak on the next play to bring the score to 28-12. Cameron Liston took the ball in for the successful two-point conversion and to bring the game to its final score of 28-14.