Third-ranked Knox West stormed out to a 28-7 first-quarter lead and held off a Cleveland Blue Raider comeback 35-25 on Friday night.
Playing on the road, the Cleveland defense shut down the high-powered Rebel offense in the second half. But the Blue Raiders had too deep a hole to dig out of, though the game was still not decided until the final minutes.
Knox West stormed out to a 13-0 lead when 5'9" quarterback Seth Marshall took it all the way on the opening play and then the Rebels picked off the first Austin Herink pass for a score.
Cleveland was able to march down the field and score on a run by T.J. Parker around the right side. He leaped into the end zone and it was 13-7.
Marshall, who was converted from running back, ran it in after a Knox West drive and then Max Bacon scored followed an ensuing march to make it 28-7 while still in the first quarter.
The Blue Raiders got another score, then seemed to be in business when Jay McIntyre picked off a Marshall pass in the end zone. After Cleveland could not move the ball, Knox West gave the Blue Raiders another chance with a botched punt reception. But Knox West held and took it in for a 35-13 lead at intermission.
Cleveland opened the second half with its first stop of the game. Knox West went for it on fourth and 8 at the Cleveland 38. A pass receiver was open up the middle, but dropped the pass to turn the ball over.
T.J. Parker had several nice runs on the next drive, then Cleveland got a score on a short pass from Herink to Eric Goodwin. The two-point try on another pass to Goodwin was ruled incomplete, leaving the score 35-19.
The Blue Raiders got another 3 and out, causing the first punt of the game for Knox West as the third quarter wound down.
Cleveland was within 10 points after Herink connected with Tyler Davis on a fourth-down play.
Then the Blue Raiders got the ball back on a T.J. Parker interception in the end zone. But the comeback was stopped by a Rebel interception on a fourth and 18 play.