Section: Football

Football can’t harness momentum after first season win

By Noah Gurzenski

This past Saturday, Lords football (1-8, 1-7 North Coast Athletic Conference [NCAC]) fell to the College of Wooster (4-5, 4-4 NCAC). The Kenyon defense put forth a commendable effort, holding the Fighting Scots to nearly 150 rushing yards below their season average and forcing three red-zone turnovers to keep the game within reach. Brandon January ’15 also had a strong game, picking up over 100 yards on the ground for both the second time this season and the second straight game.

Ultimately, the Kenyon offense struggled to sustain itself while coping with injuries. In addition, the Lords poorly executed conversion attempts on third and fourth downs, struggling to finish off their drives with sufficient yardage gains.

“We ran 77 offensive plays and were only in the red zone once,” Head Coach Chris Monfiletto said. “We were able to move the football; we just didn’t have those explosive plays that got us close enough where it could result in points.”

Wooster got a big break early on, recovering a muffed punt at the Kenyon 15-yard line to put the Fighting Scots in scoring position. After a personal-foul penalty set Wooster back to the 30-yard line, it looked like the Lords might be able to hold them to a field goal. Unfortunately, Wooster found the end zone on the very next play on a 30-yard pass to put the Scots up 7-0.

Driving deep into Kenyon territory on their next offensive possession, Wooster looked poised to extend their lead to 14, but Justin Cruz ’17 pounced on a Fighting Scots fumble to give the Lords possession and keep the score 7-0. Wooster would not be denied, however, opening up the second quarter with a two-yard touchdown pass, set up by a 49-yard strike just one play earlier.

Down 14-0 in the third quarter, the Lords mounted an 85-yard drive to get on the scoreboard. Highlighted by a 24-yard rush from January and a nine-yard rush from Blake Calcei ’16 on third-and-four, Calcei punched it in from three yards out to make it a one-possession game. Despite converting on both third down attempts they faced during their sole scoring drive, the Lords struggled the whole to move the chains on third down, going just three for 15 during the game.

Wooster was quick to answer the Lords, running just four plays before their quarterback uncorked a 49-yard bomb for the touchdown to put Wooster ahead 21-7. Seeking to chip away at the Wooster lead, Kenyon drove all the way down to the Wooster 24-yard line before the Lords fumbled away the ball just two plays later, coming up empty on yet another offensive possession. Kenyon’s defense shut out the Fighting Scots for the rest of the game, but the offense was unable to take advantage, turning the ball over on downs on their next two possessions.

The Lords will close out the 2014 season next Saturday at home against Denison University (5-4, 4-4 NCAC) on Senior Day.

The most difficult task for the Kenyon defense will be containing Denison’s standout junior receiver, DuShawn Brown. Last week, Brown set an NCAC record for receiving yards in a single game, and is currently ranked third among all Division-III pass-catchers with 1,272 receiving yards. The Lords’ passing defense will be further tested by senior quarterback Brandon Sklenar, who leads the conference in passing yards

If Kenyon hopes to secure a home victory this weekend, they must take advantage of the mediocre Big Red defense, which has given up 30 or more points five times this season. The DU defensive unit is last in the conference in fumble recoveries and fourth in interceptions, which should allow January and Bates some breathing room in their offensive attack.

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