Kenyon played one of their better games of the season, but turnovers proved to be the difference as Wooster prevailed on their Senior Day, 21-7. Let’s take a closer look:
There must have been something in the air on Saturday, because neither team could hold onto the ball. After forcing Wooster to a three-and-out on the opening possession, Kenyon looked poised to score first, only to fumble it away to the opposition before crossing the 50-yard line. Once again, Kenyon proceeded to force Wooster to go three-and-out, but a muffed punt gave Wooster the ball back at the Kenyon 15-yard line. The Fighting Scots made the Lords pay that time, connecting on a 30-yard touchdown pass just two plays later. Wooster, whose starting QB left the team earlier in the week leading up to the game, struggled to execute basic QB ball-exchanges, but the Lords had trouble holding on to the ball as well, fumbling the ball away on three occasions.
Despite running over 70 plays and dominating the time of possession once again (Kenyon continues to lead the NCAC in that category), the Lords offense had little to show for it at the end of the day. Kenyon did not pose much of a threat in the first half, either fumbling or punting on each possession. A slew of injuries to Sr. WR #25 Nick Gasbarro, Sr. WR #6 Jake Genachowski, and So. WR #7 Brian Hunca left Kenyon Jr. Co-Captain QB #13 Jake Bates without many of his usual targets. To his credit, Kenyon Fr. WR #8 Pierce Brady filled in admirably, hauling in 5 passes for 44-yards. Kenyon Jr. DB #12 Max Boyd, still recovering from a knee injury of his own, got in on the action as well, picking up 11 yards on a curl route.
The lone bright spot of the afternoon came off of a Wooster turnover. Starting on their own 15-yard line, Kenyon marched down the field until Kenyon Jr. FB #3 Blake Calcei punched it in from three yards out to cap an 85-yard drive.
The running game looked strong for the second straight week, accounting for 182 yards with Kenyon Sr. RB #5 Brandon January leading the way with 114 yards. The big guys up front deserve a lot of credit for the running game’s revival over the past few weeks, especially Sr. Co-Captain OL #53 Garrison Anderson who, since returning from injury, has provided a big spark up front, opening up lanes for Kenyon running backs.
Though Kenyon was perfect in the red zone, it is tough to put points on the board when you go a combined 4-17 on third and fourth down and only make it to the red zone once. Wooster only converted on two of five opportunities, much to the credit of Kenyon defense, but those two touchdowns were all the Fighting Scots needed against the Lords that day.
On to the defense: the Lords defense played one of their better games all season. Four sacks, three red zone turnovers, 50 rushing yards and only 21 points surrendered after some costly turnovers by the offense isn’t too bad of an afternoon. Big plays, however, continued to plague the Kenyon defense against the Fighting Scots. Wooster was able to complete numerous long pass plays that broke the back of the Kenyon defense, one being a 49-yard touchdown pass to end the third quarter.
On the bright side, the youthful mistakes seen at the beginning of the season continue to dwindle. Two freshmen, Kenyon Fr. DB #4 Curt Williams and Fr. DL #22 Quashae Hendryx, each came up with huge takeaways in the red zone. On the other end of the spectrum, Kenyon Jr. Co-Captain DB #24 Alex McQuiston continued to shine against Wooster, having one of the best games on his collegiate career, collecting 11 total tackles, 4 of which were for a loss. The future is bright for this young unit, which will return nine next season. With some hard work and development, this group could cause problems for NCAC foes in years to come.
Looking ahead to Denison, the Kenyon defensive backs better settle down and limit the big plays. Denison features one of the nation’s best receivers and passing attacks. They absolutely cannot continue this pattern of getting beat deep.
On offense, Kenyon must bring a balanced attack to McBride Field. Denison will force Kenyon to throw the ball around, especially after such success running it in recent weeks. Bates has to get enough time from the guys up front, or else Kenyon might have a tough time moving the ball.
Final note: Saturday is the last game of the season and Senior Day, so make sure to head out to the game and cheer your hardest for these seven seniors as they walk onto McBride Field for the last time. For four years, through both ups and downs, they have given it their all for Lords football, and their hard work and dedication deserves to be lauded.