In the first-ever football game in the newly formed Eastern Cincinnati Conference, the Turpin Spartans gave up a 14-0 lead and come back to beat the Kings Knights 28-21 at Spartan Stadium.
Turpin (4-0, 1-0) jumped out to a two-touchdown advantage in the first quarter thanks in part to the running attack led by senior quarterback Connor Jansen. Jansen, who finished the game with a team-high 85 yards on the ground, had gains of 18 and 16 yards to setup a 1-yard sneak into the end zone to take a 7-0 lead.
With three minutes remaining in the first quarter, Turpin punter Aaron Freund pinned Kings (1-3, 0-1) inside its own five-yard line. On third down and long, the Knights tried to throw a pass out of its own end zone. The ball was under thrown and intercepted by Turpin defensive back Nate Pfeffer at the Kings 19-yard line.
-- Postgame : Rob Stoll, Turpin
-- Postgame : Nate Pfeffer
Five plays later, Turpin junior running back Dylan Haller rumbled into the end zone on a five-yard rushing touchdown to put the Spartans in front 14-0 at the end of the first quarter of play.
Kings regrouped and scored 21 unanswered points. The Knights put together a 10-play drive to begin the second quarter. Senior running back Nick Collado ripped off a 34-yard run to the end zone and cut the Turpin lead to 14-7.
Knights fullback Austin Copeland tied the score 14-14 late in the second quarter with a 4-yard touchdown run.
Kings took the lead 21-14 in the third quarter on a six-minute drive that featured two huge plays by Justin Crull. A 40-yard catch and run down the sideline along with a 12-yard rushing play in the red zone with would-be tacklers hanging on were the highlights of the drive. Crull caught five passes for 77 yards and made a key interception on defense.
Collado, who lead all ball carriers with 121 yards on 24 attempts, scored his second rushing touchdown of the game from four yards out to take the lead for Kings.
Turpin, who was beaten by Kings last season in the playoffs, showed resilience and put together an impressive 11-play drive. Jansen completed a 32-yard pass to Clay Johnson on third-down-and-10 to keep the drive alive. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Jansen kept the ball on a sweep play, cut to the inside and walked into the end zone to tie the score 21-21.
With just under five minutes left to play, a Kings drive stalled on its own 40-yard line forcing the Knights to punt. Turpin’s Thomas Stocker blocked the punt setting up the Spartans with excellent field position near midfield.
That is when wide receiver Bobby Calder got loose and Jansen threw a perfect pass for a 47-yard touchdown strike giving Turpin a 28-21 lead with 3:30 left in the game.
Kings still had plenty of time to at least tie the game but that is when Pfeffer struck again with his second interception to ice the game and keep Turpin in the ranks of the unbeaten. Turpin has been ranked by many publications as the top Division-II team in the area.
Next week the Spartans will travel down Clough Pike to visit Glen Este while Kings returns home to host Loveland.
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