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Kaiser leads Braves to 35-28 win over Mason County

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By Bryan Marshall

 

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A record-setting night by running back Nathan Kaiser propelled Grant County to its second win on the season.

The Braves won 35-27 against Mason County on Oct. 19 in the team’s final home game.

The win broke a seven-game losing steak as Grant had an offensive explosion in the first half and held on for the victory.

“It feels great to get a win in our last home game of the season for our seniors,” said Coach Jacob Morris. “They’re an amazing group of young men that have remained coachable and invested all season. I believe at times during the season we expected something to go wrong. This game you never saw that. The team expected to make the plays and they did. I’m lucky that I had the opportunity to share in that game with our seniors.”

Grant County got on the board early with a 37-yard rushing touchdown by Nathan Kaiser, a prelude to his big night on the ground.

Leading by a touchdown, the Braves extended their lead in the first quarter with a 40-yard TD pass from Austin Knipp to Damion Ingguls.

Mason County trailed 13-0 until Seth Chambers found the end zone on a 31-yard rushing touchdown to make the score 13-7.

Grant County scored for the third time in the opening quarter on a Caelan Nix four-yard TD run. A two-point conversion by Knipp was good to make the score 21-7.

The Braves made it a 20-point advantage in the second quarter when Knipp scampered in on a six-yard touchdown.

The two-point conversion failed, bringing the score to 27-7.

Chambers then scored his second TD of the game for Mason County to cut the lead to 27-13.

However, the Braves scored in the final minute of the half with another Knipp to Ingguls connection, followed by a two-point conversion to give Grant a commanding 35-13 lead at the break.

Mason County’s defense came out strong in the second half, keeping the Braves scoreless.

On the offensive side, the Royals added TD runs in the third and fourth quarters to get within striking distance at 35-27 with five minutes remaining, but Grant County held on for the win.

The Braves totaled 492 yards on offense, including 322 yards rushing.

Kaiser was the catalyst, gaining a school record 252 yards on 23 carries and a touchdown.

“Nate and our line are very proud of that,” Morris said of the rushing record. “He put on a show, especially during the first half and then to put the game away on that last drive.”

Knipp completed 11 of 16 passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns.

Ingguls caught six passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns.

“There were a lot of smiles that hadn’t been there since our opener,” Morris said. “After the performance this past Friday, I believe they’re excited to get back on the field. I know this game has really got our offensive line feeling pretty excited. When you rush for 322 yards that gets those larger athletes playing with some confidence. I’m not sure Knipp threw an incompletion in the first half.”

Morris said the bye week gave the Braves a chance to rest up and prepare for Mason County.

He said the game was the most physical the team has played all year.

“We played with a physicality and attitude that we haven’t shown before,” Morris said. “A lot of the things I’m most proud of would go unnoticed. I loved the tempo we played that helped us jump on them early.”

The victory improved Grant’s record to 2-7 on the season. It was their first win since the season opener against Owen County.

The Braves now will finish out the season on the road at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26 against Gallatin County.

The Wildcats are 1-7 on the season.

“Gallatin lost a lot of guys last year,” Morris said. “They are pretty banged up and are playing a lot of young guys. They play hard with a lot of pride. We expect them to grind it out and milk the clock like they did last year. Teams like that will drive you crazy. We are going to have to make every possession count because we don’t know how many we’re going to get.”