By Richard Pera
Before the Kenyon football team loaded its buses on Saturday morning, Head Coach Chris Monfiletto still had to complete one part of his pregame routine. He walked toward the fountain in the hotel lobby, and, for good luck, tossed in a coin.
Turns out, he didn’t need any luck at all.
Kenyon demolished Allegheny College 37-7 in its season opener. The Lords amassed 439 yards of total offense and five touchdowns; the defense forced three turnovers and held the Gator running attack to just 82 yards.
Saturday’s result marked a statement victory in every sense. Saturday’s result was just the third Kenyon victory over Allegheny in their past 22 contests.
The source of Kenyon’s success was in the element of surprise. Several essential offensive starters graduated last year, forcing younger players into bigger roles this season. The greatest change came at the quarterback position, for which Monfiletto recruited transfer student Jake Bates ’15 from Davidson College. Since Bates played defense at Davidson, Allegheny had little insight into his abilities. That proved deadly. In the first half alone, Bates went 8-10 for 153 yards with one touchdown and a 39-yard pass to Brian Hunca ’17. With Bates under center, Kenyon led 22-0, aided by outstanding offensive-line play and two touchdowns by Blake Calcei ’16 in a goal-line wildcat formation.
“I don’t know if you could script a game any better to start out,” Bates said. “As soon as we took the field, the confidence we had in our team and our game plan was overwhelming, and I think that showed.”
Max Boyd ’16 stepped in when a dislocated thumb sidelined Bates in the second half. In the third quarter, Brandon January ’15 took a handoff and bounced toward the Kenyon sideline, outrunning everyone en route to an 80-yard score. Later in the quarter, Boyd tossed a 12-yard touchdown pass to Casey Beaudouin ’16, which capped the rout.
The new-look Kenyon defense played a stellar contest, conceding only one touchdown pass. The Gators were puzzled by the Lords’ 3-4 scheme, which was plenty different from last year’s 4-3.
“A lot of [the game plan] was making sure they didn’t know what we were going to do,” Cam Ventling ’14 said. “We were just trying to be aggressive, keep stuff covered up and surprise them.”
The defense notched three turnovers: a fumble recovered by Ventling, and two interceptions in the endzone by Kye Duren ’16 and Alec McQuiston ’16. Kolin Sullivan ’14 led the Lords with nine tackles, including 3.5 for a loss.
The Lords will face off next against Earlham College in Richmond, Ind. on Saturday, Sept. 14.