Kennett defeats Unionville, 27-13, behind Cox’s rushing
By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw
The campuses of Kennett and Unionville high schools are separated by a distance of about three miles – a six-minute drive through the borough -- but for their respective football programs in recent seasons, it is a separation measured in light years.
From the time Kennett reinstituted football in 2005, the Blue Demons had accumulated a zero and 14 record against their crosstown rivals, and while the Indians have been racking up Ches-Mont divisional championships and post-season berths, Kennett has often been relegated to the role of “also-ran” and “spoiler.” In short, they have been known as the other football team in town.
All of that ended last Friday night in spectacular fashion, as the Blue Demons beat Unionville, 27-13, on Unionville’s home field, giving Kennett a 4-0 start on the 2019 season and a first-place position in the Ches-Mont American division.
“This win is going down in the history of Kennett football,” said second-year head coach Lance Frazier, moments after the school’s raucous student section stormed the opposing team’s field in victory. “You want your players to believe in themselves, and then you begin to see them believe that you believe in them … and then anything becomes possible.”
Kennett’s victory came with heaping portions of sound defense, a nearly impenetrable offensive line, and the punishing work of running back Garrett Cox, who rushed for 213 yards and two touchdowns.
After a 33-yard field goal by Stefan Twombly staked Unionville to an early 3-0 lead with 5:55 left in the first quarter, Kennett tied the score 3-3 on a 34-yard field goal by Ryan Barker with 2:35 left in the quarter thanks to three Cox runs, including a 48-yard scamper.
On its next possession, Unionville started from its own 36-yard line, and moved to midfield on a strike from quarterback Blake Charlton to Declan Boyle. A 21-yard pass to Connor Schilling moved the ball to Kennett’s 24-yard line, but two penalties called back completions to Bryce Whitlock and Boyle. A pass to Boyle got the ball to the 13-yard line, but a fumble on the next snap was recovered by Kennett’s Tommy Patrisi.
On Kennett’s third play from scrimmage, a pass from quarterback Sam Forte was picked off by Sean Kelly, which set up a go-ahead, 27-yard field goal by Twombly with 3:22 left in the first half. With 1:22 left in the half, however, Cox put Kennett on top 10-6 with a 54-yard touchdown run that saw him sprint up the sideline virtually untouched – wrapping up his 127-yard rushing effort in the first half.
While the overflow crowd was just settling into their seats for the start of the second half, Charlton broke free for a 51-yard touchdown run with ten minutes left in the third quarter, giving Unionville its last lead of the night, 13-10. On Kennett’s next drive, Forte moved his team from its own 37-yard line to the Unionville 37-yard line, a drive that ended with Cox’s 36-yard touchdown run up the middle with 8:27 left in the third quarter, giving Kennett a 17-13 lead.
With 24 seconds left in the quarter, a 22-yard field goal by Barker extended the Blue Demons’ lead to 20-13. On the ensuing kickoff to begin the fourth quarter, Schilling set up the Indians with a 59-yard return, but on fourth and eleven on Kennett’s 29-yard line, Charlton was tackled by Kennett’s Zack Good for a loss, which promptly – and ironically -- led to a 79-yard touchdown strike from Forte to a wide-open Good with 8:37 left in the game, to round out the game’s scoring and secure Kennett’s victory.
Frazier gave credit to his team’s offensive line for their work in helping to free Forte and create holes for Cox to use. “He’s about what every great athlete is about,” Frazier said of Cox. “With the best athletes, nobody sees what they go through in the preparation they put in before they hit the field. He cares enough about the game that he will never disrespect the game.”
Kennett will carry its undefeated record into its Homecoming game against winless Sun Valley on Sept. 20, while 2-2 Unionville hosts 2-1 Coatesville on Sept. 20.
To email Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].