Section: Football

Lords mount furious third-quarter comeback, fall short

While Lords football ultimately dropped its season opener 31-21 to Sewanee: The University of the South (Sewanee, Tenn.), the team showed promise in erasing a 21-point deficit before Sewanee took the lead for good in the fourth quarter.

With its only first down of the first quarter coming off a Sewanee penalty, Kenyon’s offense struggled to find its groove early on. Sewanee’s offense, however, wasted no time in getting on the scoreboard, reaching the end zone on their first offensive possession to open up a 7-0 lead. After snuffing out a Kenyon fake punt attempt late in the first quarter, Sewanee (1-0 on the season) doubled its lead just two plays later with a 48-yard pass play followed by a one-yard quarterback sneak.

After three more three-and-outs offensively, fatigue started to set in on the Kenyon defense, which spent most of the first half on the field. Sewanee capitalized on the enervated Kenyon defense on their next offensive possession, running the option for a 28-yard touchdown, extending the Tiger lead to 21-0.

On the following possession, Kenyon found itself in a fourth-down-and-one situation from their own 30-yard line. Risking a turnover on downs that would put Sewanee in an excellent position to extend their already-substantial lead, Kenyon’s Head Coach Chris Monfiletto elected to go for the first down. “We needed some sort of momentum change at that point,” Monfiletto said. “We were down 21-0 and we were going into halftime.”

Monfiletto’s risky decision paid off, as Jake Bates ’16 moved the chains with a three-yard rush before hitting Brian Hunca ’17 on the right sideline with a 63-yard touchdown pass on the next play. The touchdown pass was Bates’s longest since connecting with Jibri McLean ’17 for a 65-yard score against Ohio Wesleyan University in 2013.

Reinvigorated by Bates’s touchdown pass to Hunca, Kenyon began to dominate on both sides of the ball. On defense, Kenyon kept Sewanee’s option-run game in check, holding the Tigers scoreless in the third quarter. On Kenyon’s first offensive possession of the second half, Co-Captain Blake Calcei ’16 took the ball up the middle and ran 64 yards untouched for the touchdown to make the score 21-14 in favor of Sewanee.

After the Kenyon defense forced Sewanee to punt the ball away, Kenyon took over on its own 12-yard line with an opportunity to tie the game. On the first play of the ensuing drive, Casey Beaudouin ’16  immediately put the Lords in strong field position with a 57-yard rush. Six plays later, Bates found Hunca in the right corner of the end zone for the game-tying touchdown.

With their backs against the ropes, Sewanee retook the lead for good when quarterback Kevin Bolak connected with Steven Hearn in the back -right corner of the end zone for the 14-yard score. Adding a field goal with just over a minute left to play, Sewanee escaped with the 31-21 victory, thwarting Kenyon’s comeback bid. Having “the ability to respond and come back 21 points was really impressive,” Monfiletto said. “Now we’ve got to finish.”

Kenyon (0-1) will play their first North Coast Atlantic Conference game at 6 p.m. this Saturday when they travel to Oberlin College to take on the Yeomen

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