Kennett 24, Chichester 12
● By Steven Hoffman
After falling behind to Chichester 12-0 early in the second quarter, Kennett turned in three quarters of strong football on offense and defense to earn a 24-12 win in front of a large home crowd on Sept. 2.
The victory improved Kennett’s record to 1-1.
Kennett head coach Doug Langley said that he was proud of the resiliency that his team showed while overcoming the early deficit. Chichester jumped out to a lead with 2:23 left to play in the first quarter when Kennett quarterback Jake Dilcher fired a pass that bounced off a receiver’s hands and was plucked out of the air by Chichester safety Blaine Lewis-Thompson, who raced down the left sideline 88 yards for a touchdown. The extra-point attempt was no good, but Chichester held a 6-0 lead.
A few minutes later, Chichester’s offense, guided by quarterback Andrew Rodriguez, capitalized on a short field and moved the ball 35 yards on five plays to set up a second score. After a pass interference call against Kennett put Chichester in the Red Zone, Rodriguez found wide receiver Omar Smith open in the middle of the field for a 14-yard touchdown. On the extra-point kick, the ball struck the left upright and bounced away, leaving the score at 12-0 with 10:08 left to play in the second quarter.
Kennett relied on its running back tandem of Myles Robinson and Connor Hyzny to get back into the game. Robinson utilized his impressive quickness on a 15-yard carry that he bounced to the outside, followed by a 7-yard gain where he ran right up the middle of the defense. Hyzny contributed three nice carries on the drive as Kennett moved inside the 10-yard line. They couldn’t score a touchdown, but they did get on the scoreboard when kicker James Tuley booted a 25-yard field goal, cutting the the lead to 12-3.
A few minutes later, Robinson turned in a big play. He went out on a pass pattern and got open. Dilcher led him with his pass and Robinson pulled it in and raced to the end zone for a 65-yard score. The extra-point kick by Tuley cut Chichester’s lead to 12-10 with 1:20 left to play in the first half.
Kennett continued its momentum in the second half. After the defensive unit forced Chichester to punt on its first series, the Kennett offense went back to work. On first down, Robinson broke loose for what looked like an 80-yard touchdown, but there was a flag on the field. An illegal motion penalty against Kennett wiped out the big gain. Both teams were hindered by penalties—they combined for 27 of them, a huge number even for an early-season game. As Kennett’s offense continued its first drive in the second half, Dilcher made a nice play to complete a 7-yard pass to Drake McNamara with a defender wrapped around him. Next, Dilcher connected with tight end Kerry Tomasetti for a 30-yard completion. Robinson dashed for 23 yards straight up the middle to move the ball to the 21 of Chichester. A few plays later, Hyzny picked up a big first down with a three-yard gain that moved the ball inside the 10-yard line. Robinson’s number was called on the next play. The senior running back showed good patience to let the play develop. He waited for the blocking up front, found running room, and ran into the end zone for the score. When Tuley kicked the extra point, Kennett had its first lead of the game—17-12 with 5:11 left to play in the third quarter.
Kennett added a touchdown late in the third quarter when Dilcher threw a 60-yard touchdown to McNamera, making it 24-12.
With the offense scoring points, Kennett’s defense took control of the game. Chichester’s offense wasn’t able to push the ball across midfield during the latter part of the second half. The Kennett defense produced three interceptions—one each by Connor Hyzny, Sebastian Hughes, and Jose Rodriguez.
Langley said that he was pleased with his team’s balanced attack, saying that Robinson and Hyzny can be counted on to pick up yards on the ground, while Dilcher is developing nicely as the starting quarterback. In this game, Robinson’s two touchdowns sparked the offense, and Dilcher completed ten passes for 219 yards.
“I thought we played really well,” Langley said.
The coach added that he wants the team to eliminate some of the mental mistakes—specifically some of the penalties—as the season progresses.
“We’re going to focus on playing good, fundamental football,” he said.