The Lords football team finished their season on Saturday in Granville (Ohio), losing to Denison University 51-20. The Lords finished the season 0-10, going winless for the first time since 2011 and for the first time under Head Coach Chris Monfiletto.
The game started off well for quarterback Thomas Merkle’s ’20 offense. He opened the game with a 90-yard, six-minute touchdown drive to take an early 7-0 lead. Then the Denison Big Red took over the game, scoring three touchdowns before halftime to take a 21-7 lead. The Big Red put the game out of reach for the Lords by scoring a 73-yard rushing touchdown and a 56-yard rushing touchdown on back-to-back offensive plays to take a 34-7 lead. By the time Denison had put together a 44-7 lead, Head Coach Chris Monfiletto chose to use his senior quarterback Sam Appel in Appel’s final game as a Lord. Appel was able to get some traction late in the game, throwing two touchdowns to fellow senior Ian Bell in futility as the Lords lost 51-20.
Wide receiver Ian Robertson ’19 worked his way into the Kenyon record book this season. His 1,053 yards put him eighth in the single-season record book for the Lords, his 80 receptions finished sixth, and his 13 touchdowns tied for second. His season is more impressive considering his slow start. In the first three games, Robertson had no touchdowns and only 78 yards on 10 receptions. After those first three games, he had a stretch of six straight games with 100+ receiving yards only broken this week, and a stretch of seven straight games with at least one touchdown.
Merkle also found his way into the Lords’ record book this season. He finished this season first in pass attempts (504), pass completions (304) and pass completion percentage (60.31%). His 22 touchdowns put him at second in the all-time record book and make him the only Lord in the 21st century in the top 10 of that category. He also finished second in passing yards, falling six yards short of the mark he set last year of 2,928 yards.
Defensively, cornerback Curt Williams ’18 led the North Coast Athletic Conference in tackles with 143, linebacker Jake LaPoint ’18 finished fifth in sacks with eight, and LaPoint and defensive tackle Trevor Brown ’20 finished first and second in fumble recoveries, with four and three respectively.
The youth of the Lords could carry them forward as they attempt to rebound from their lost season. A majority of the starters and offensive producers on this team are underclassmen and will be back in Gambier to improve on their 2017 season. The Lords’ top rusher Seamus McCurren ’21 will be a sophomore next year, and starting running back Rob Meager ’19 will be returning for his senior year from an ACL tear to lead the Kenyon rushing attack. Robertson will look to have another record-setting year during his senior season, and Merkle will continue to rise in the career record books his junior season.