Section: Football

Football beats Oberlin, celebrates seniors in final game

Football beats Oberlin, celebrates seniors in final game

Jordon Benjamin '26 | SEJIN KIM/SID/NCAA

The Kenyon football team closed out the season with a 38-10 win over Oberlin College. After their Senior Day victory, the Owls ended the 2023 campaign with a record of 2-8 (2-6 NCAC).

Kenyon honored its 12 seniors in a pregame ceremony that offered a chance for the graduating players to reflect on their football careers. For Cole Garrison ’24, who accumulated 75 tackles in three seasons, Senior Day was a culmination of years of dedication to football. “I’ve been playing football since I was eight, and it wasn’t always the smoothest road for me personally — I almost quit in high school,” he said in an interview with the Collegian. “It meant a lot for me personally to finish out on a high note, and for my mom and dad and brother to be there to… watch my last football game ever.”

After Oberlin deferred to the second half, Kenyon started with the ball on its own 39-yard line to begin the game. Jordon Benjamin ’26 ran for 32 yards to put the ball into Yeomen territory under a minute into the game. The Owls continued to march down the field, and quarterback Park Penrod ’25 capped off the drive with a one-yard rushing touchdown. Though Oberlin threatened on its first possession of the game, the Kenyon defense held the Yeomen to a field goal, and the score stood at 7-3 after 15 minutes. The Owls opened the second quarter with another rushing touchdown, this time from Benjamin, before the Kenyon defense forced a quick 3-and-out and Oberlin sent its punting unit onto the field. The teams traded passing touchdowns to make the score 21-10 in favor of Kenyon at halftime.

The Owls kept up their momentum to start the second half, as Kendall Weaver ’27 picked off Oberlin’s Drew Nye, taking his first career interception to the house to give Kenyon a 28-10 lead. The Owls’ defense stymied the Yeomen’s offense, keeping them off the board in the second half. Kenyon tacked on another touchdown in the third quarter, Penrod’s third total touchdown of the day, and a field goal in the final frame to come away with the 38-10 Senior Day win.

Benjamin, who was second in the NCAC with 829 rushing yards this season, was proud of how the team brought all three phases of the game together successfully. “We were able to stop them on defense, we were able to produce points on offense and we had a couple momentum-changing plays on special teams,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian. “When we play well in all three parts of the game, it makes everybody’s job easier. What we can learn is just how to do this against every team we play, not just a select few.”

According to Garrison, the defense in particular drew motivation from the celebration of the seniors and the chance to beat Oberlin for the fourth season in a row. “We felt the pressure of the standard of beating Oberlin consistently,” he said. “A lot of the older guys who are on defense were especially motivated to play for their last game or their friend’s last game. I think that it helps that we simplified our game plan. Everyone knew what they were doing.”

Though the Owls struggled at points throughout the season, Benjamin sees Kenyon’s plans for the off-season as simple: “To the returners, [we need to] get right in the offseason. To the [first-years] coming in, [we need to] take them under our wing, get them focused, get everybody on the same page and be ready to work.” Despite the team’s tribulations, Garrison was glad to have the chance to play for Kenyon football: “There’s a lot of positives to be had and to remember, and I think that, for me personally, there’s a lot of people on that team I can trust and a lot of great friends,” he said. “I will never forget a lot of these people that I’ve played with, and it’s been a great ride throughout.” 

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