Forest Park sectional title will have to waitNovember 2, 2019
By COREY STOLZENBACH
BICKNELL — Forest Park’s first-ever trip to the sectional championship will have to wait.
The Rangers (6-5) dropped a 25-0 loss at North Knox Friday night in the Class 2A sectional semifinal. Friday marked the first time all season they were shut out, and they generated 72 yards of total offense, compared to 209 offensive yards for the Warriors.
“North Knox has a very, very good line, both offensive line and defensive line,” Forest Park coach Ross Fuhs said. “We knew, coming in, we had to win the line, and, unfortunately, we didn’t tonight.”
The Rangers primarily had trouble stopping the run. The rush defense surrendered 193 yards against the Warriors, with the duo of senior Cole Richter and sophomore Holtman Doades combining for 161 yards and two of North Knox’s three touchdowns. Junior quarterback Reece Hammelman accounted for the other score on a six-yard keeper with 1:51 to play in the first half.
Forest Park could not capitalize when it was afforded opportunities. Sophomore quarterback Cooper Uebelhor threw an interception, but it was waived off with 44.2 seconds left in the first half following a roughing the passer call against the Warriors. The drive ultimately culminated in a turnover on downs, as the Warriors sacked Uebelhor with 14.5 seconds to go in the opening half.
Sophomore Caleb Moya recovered a fumble at the 6:51 mark in the third quarter, but Uebelhor threw an interception that North Knox senior Troy Noland ran all the way back for a 62-yard score to make it 18-0 Warriors with 4:55 to go. Uebelhor went 5 of 21 passing for 40 yards and three interceptions. He finished his sophomore year with seven touchdowns against 10 interceptions.
“He was getting pressured and made some quick throws that maybe weren’t there, “ Fuhs said of Uebelhor. “Obviously, a couple balls got batted that got intercepted, too, but just being a sophomore, and having all this varsity experience, I think the game will continue to slow down for him.”
The final scoring play for the Warriors came following an Uebelhor interception. They took over in the red zone following that pick, and Richter ran it in for a five-yard touchdown with 9:00 left in the game. An extra point brought the game to its final score.
Forest Park wrapped up its season having won five more games than it did in 2018. Fuhs said the team made it a goal to finish above the .500 mark, and added the Rangers will continue to strive for that going forward. The coach praised his players after the game for raising the bar for the program, leading by example and picking one another up.
The Rangers are saying goodbye to 12 seniors. Fuhs said they’ve been a pleasure to coach given their hard work, dedication and team work.
He said getting to play in the sectional championship was the other goal Forest Park had in addition to finishing above .500.
“Obviously, we were able to check off one of those goals, but not the second one,” he said. “So, I think that should be a goal moving forward.”
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