KARNS CITY — All seasons must come to an end at some point, and Friday was that time for the Titusville Rockets football team. Knocked out of District 10 playoff contention previously, the Rockets were playing for something more than just a win on the stat sheet. They were looking ahead to the future of the program, and there are some things to be excited about.
Although the 35-13 loss at District 9’s Karns City wasn’t the outcome that the Rockets may have desired, there were bright glimpses of want the future can bring.
Titusville sophomore quarterback Garrett Knapp surpassed 1,000 yards passing on the season, going 11 of 27 for 148 yards and a fourth-quarter, 41-yard touchdown pass to Laird Stover. Knapp connected with six different receivers, while not turning the ball over during the contest.
Freshman receiver Brock Covell hauled in three receptions for 52 yards. His first catch was a perfectly timed sliding grab over the middle of the field on a 4th-and-6 play that moved the chains for the first time for the Brown and Gold. Covell later capped off the scoring in the game with a 24-yard touchdown reception on half-back toss by Kolin Baker.
Meanwhile, the Rocket defense shut out the Gremlins in the second half. Titusville forced two turnovers in the final 24 minutes of play as Stover picked off Karns City quarterback Anthony Kamenski in the third quarter, and Covell forced and recovered a fumble by Dawson Sloan.
Titusville head coach Bryan Baldwin was able to recognize his team’s successes afterwards and talked about the bigger picture with a smile on his face.
“It’s something to build off of and launch off of,” Baldwin said of the 13-0 second half in his team’s favor. “We’ve got a lot of work to do in the offseason and in the weight room, getting bigger, faster and stronger. It’s all about building the program.”
Baldwin was additionally pleased with his team in how they responded late in the fourth quarter. During what would become the final Rocket drive of the game, Knapp was a few yards shy of his season milestone and Baldwin was set to pull his starting offense in order to let the junior varsity players finish out the contest. However, the team voiced its support for Knapp and persuaded its head coach to let the sophomore have a shot at reaching 1,000 yards for the season, which he did with a 27-yard pass to Hunter Titus.
“It was a good team builder, bringing everyone together,” Baldwin said of that moment. “I couldn’t have asked for a better bunch of kids.”
In the first half, the host Gremlins had their way on the ground over the Rockets. Karns City finished with 351 yards on 36 carries and four scores, and used the running game to build a 35-0 lead heading into the intermission.
Kamenski scored the first touchdown of the game with an 11-yard keeper. However, it was Hunter Rowe who did most of the damage — rushing for 139 yards and three trips across the goal line on carries of 32, 29 and 2 yards. A 47-yard touchdown pass from Kamenski to Kaden Scherer accounted for the final points for the Gremlins.
“We knew that they were a good team — big and fast,” Baldwin said of the Gremlins.
Titusville finishes the campaign with a 3-7 overall and 1-5 Region 6 record.