Postgame Notes: Hiram 31, Kenyon 8

By John 

The game was within reach at halftime, but the Hiram Terriers took to the air and left Kenyon grounded during the second half, beating the Lords 31-8. Here are my thoughts:

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Freshman DB #14 Brandon Byrd goes mono-a-mono with Philander.

Kenyon’s struggles against the pass continued, only this time at a record rate. Hiram Senior QB #15 Robert Partridge threw for a school record 410 yards against the young Lords secondary, as the Lords simply had no answer to the big play capabilities of Hiram Sophomore WR #11 Joshua Philander, whose mere six receptions resulted in 203 yards and two touchdowns. Philander’s speed makes him a dangerous athlete who will give Kenyon’s defense headaches for years to come.

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Freshman DB #4 Curt Williams finished the game with six tackles.

Despite being outsized, the Lords really launched themselves into Hiram ball carriers and the Terriers weren’t able to rack up many yards after contact. This is an improvement from the DePauw game, in which it seemed like the DePauw running backs just tore through would-be tacklers. Unfortunately, the blazing speed of the likes of Philander made it difficult for the Lords to wrap up an opposing player in the first place. The D-line struggled to apply pressure against the hulking Hiram O-line, and the Kenyon defensive backs struggled to maintain their coverage on opposing receivers as a result. This, in turn, allowed Partridge to have a record-setting day against the Lords.

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The Lords defense drives an opposing ball carrier into the sidelines.

Speaking of the Hiram O-line, those guys were dirty. I love hard-hitting football as much as the next guy. I lived for NFL Countdown’s “JACK’D UP!” segment every Monday night before Monday Night Football. But there is a difference between playing hard and playing dirty, and Hiram was blatantly playing dirty. It didn’t matter how far away from the play they were; Kenyon players were at constant risk of getting blindsided, grabbed by the genitals or gouged in the eyes. Totally uncalled for, but the Lords were smart enough not retaliate in a malicious manner.

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Led by Junior Co-Captain #24 Alec McQuiston, the Kenyon defense pursues a Hiram ball carrier.

The Lords did make a couple of nice defensive plays. Kenyon Junior DB #12 Max Boyd picked off Partridge in the 1st quarter, marking the first Lords interception since last year’s Hiram game. After the Lords went three-and-out on the following drive, Kenyon Senior WR #6 Jake Genachowski downed the Kenyon punt at Hiram’s one-yard line to pin the Terriers deep and Junior DL #48 Marquis Johnson sniffed out a run on the very next play, tackling the ball carrier in the end zone for a safety.

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Bates passed for a career-high 250 yards against the Terriers.

On the offensive side of the ball, Kenyon beat Hiram in time of possession 30:48 to 29:12. The Lords were driving early in the second quarter, constructing an 11 play 53-yard drive, only to throw an interception in the red zone. A 48-yard pass from Junior Co-Captain #13 Jake Bates to Sophomore WR #7 Brian Hunca set up the lone offensive score of the game, a one-yard TD run from Junior FB #3 Blake Calcei. Hunca continued his stellar play with 8 receptions for 168 yards. The Lords came within striking distance thrice in the second half, but a forced-fumble, missed field goal and interception spoiled all three attempts.

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Hunca and Freshman WR #2 Ian Bell run to space in the flat.

The biggest problem for the Lords offensively was their lack of big plays. While putting together long, clock-draining drives is nice for ball control purposes, it also increases the likelihood of mistakes, to which young teams such as the current Kenyon squad are especially prone. When you take a look at the Lords’ scoring drives from this season, most came off of big plays, including the lone TD against Hiram set up by a deep pass to Hunca. This is where the loss of WR #11 Jibri McLean is really apparent; with all due respect to Hunca and Genachowski, McLean was the big play receiver for the Lords last season and they are really missing him now.

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Lords and Terriers shake it up.

The Lords must regroup and get ready for their next two matchups against nationally-ranked opponents. Wabash, the #10 team in the country, will be coming to McBride Field next weekend. They’re big up front and this will be a real test for the struggling O and D lines. Things won’t get any easier the following week, as the Lords travel to Springfield, OH to take on #14 Wittenberg University.

This young team keeps gaining experience and keeps fighting till the end. As the long season wears on, they are going to have to keep their morale up and continue to battle.

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