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Eagles soar by Knights for county title

Win not quite enough to put Eagles into Division IV playoffs

KENNETT ATHLETIC DIRECTOR Kerry Brady and coach Mike Holderman pose with captains (l to r) Matt Gadomski, Logan Spoor and JP Cooper (fellow captain Levi Bescos had to leave the game in an ambulance after a knee injury) pose with the Carroll County Cup after the Eagles’ win over Kingswood Friday. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
November 01, 2010
NORTH CONWAY — If the Kennett football team wanted to hold on to any hope of a Division IV playoff berth, a win over county rival Kingswood in the annual Carroll County Championship was a must.

The Knights found that being in the way when a team is battling for it's playoff life can be a dangerous thing.

Kennett used long touchdown runs to help pull away from the Knights and ran to a 44-0 win, keeping the Carroll County Cup in North Conway for another year.

"We're a damn good football team when we have our full team," Holderman said, noting his team's starting lineup was intact for the first time since the Plymouth game in week four. "We felt good all week knowing we'd have everyone back."

"It's frustrating, I know the kids are frustrated," Kingswood coach Matt Jozokos said. "We'll have to take a look at a lot of film in the offseason and see what we're doing wrong as coaches."

The Knights got off to a fine start on the field at Gary Millen Stadium. The Kingswood defense shut down the Eagle offense, thanks in large part to a 15-yard penalty. Ethan Ball then stuffed Logan Spoor on a fake punt on fourth down, giving the Knights the ball back at the 45-yard line.

Slayd Dore hit Joe Irvine for a five-yard pickup on first down. On the play, Kennett captain Levi Bescos had to be carted off the field after suffering a severe knee injury. Spoor stuffed Dore on second down, but Isaac Horton broke through for a first down on the next play and the Knights had a first down at the 34-yard line. Four plays later, the Knights were looking at fourth and eight and Dore hit Irvine with another pass and the senior end moved the ball all the way to the 15-yard line.

However, the Knights were unable to move the ball any further and brought out the field goal unit for a 30-yard try. Megen Pollini's kick came up short and Kennett got the ball back at the 15-yard line.

The Eagles needed just one play to open the scoring, as Nick Massa broke free and ran 85 yards up the field for the touchdown and Spoor booted the extra point to make it 7-0 with 4:21 to play in the first quarter.

The Kingswood offense sputtered on the next drive. After a fumble on the first play made a second and long situation, Dore's pass was intercepted by Gino Noel and the Eagle senior returned it to the 12-yard line.

The Knight defense held strong, not allowing the Eagles to move forward and the hosts had to settle for a field goal from Spoor to make it 10-0 with 1:50 to go in the quarter.

Kingswood came out with Horton and BJ Smith running the ball on the next drive and quickly moved the ball to midfield as the quarter came to a close. However, on the first play of the second quarter, the Knights fumbled and Spoor covered the ball, giving Kennett the ball back.

Three plays later, Matt Gadomski ran the ball 38 yards and into the end zone. Spoor booted the extra point and the Eagles had a 17-0 lead with 11:06 to play in the half.

The Kingswood offense couldn't get going on the next drive and a fumble on the punt allowed the Eagles to get the ball just 28 yards away from the end zone. After Massa picked up six yards, Spoor did the rest, running 22 yards for a touchdown. The extra point missed, but the Eagles lead was 23-0 with 8:40 to play in the half.

Kingswood opened the next drive with good movement from Smith and Horton. The highlight was a second down run from Smith that covered 33 yards and put the Knights in position at the 27-yard line. However, a penalty set them back at the 41 and they couldn't move the ball forward and were forced to punt.

Jesse Wheeler hit Mike Lautenschlager on a screen pass on the first play of Kennett's ensuing drive, picking up 14 yards. A lateral to Massa helped to keep the drive moving and Massa also took a direct snap as the Eagles moved down up the field. Massa finished off the drive with a 23-yard touchdown run with 48 seconds on the clock in the half. Spoor booted the extra point and Kennett had a 30-0 lead.

Smith and Horton again carried the load for the Knights as they tried to move the ball up the field, but Lautenschlager intercepted a pass on the final play of the half and the halftime tally stood at 30-0 in favor of Kennett.

Kingswood opened the second half unable to sustain their first drive and Kennett needed just five plays to get in the end zone on their ensuing drive, as Massa ran in from 39 yards out. Spoor booted the extra point for a 37-0 lead with 7:28 to go in the third quarter.

Kingswood ate up the rest of the third quarter clock with the next drive, as Smith, Ethan Ball and Horton did the majority of the work on the ground. Smith got a big first down on fourth and two to get the ball to midfield and the Knights started the fourth quarter with the ball at the 30-yard line. However, they were unable to move it any further and turned the ball over on downs.

Gadomski then ran 70 yards on the first play of Kennett's ensuing drive and put the ball in the end zone for a 44-0 lead after the kick by Spoor with 8:42 to play.

Smith and Horton continued to move the ball well for Kingswood, but a fumble gave the ball back to the Eagles on fourth down. However, Kingswood's Nate Nicholas recovered a Kennett fumble three plays later to give the Knights the ball back and Horton and Smith ran out the clock.

Jozokos was pleased with his team's opening defensive stop and then their march down the field, but wished his team could've turned it into points.

"But then we miss a block and they hit us on a long play," he said. "They're a good team, but we stopped them. If we walk down the field and put it in (on the first drive), it's a different game."

While the season only produced two wins for the Knights, Jozokos said he was pleased with the progress Dore made in his first season playing football and noted that with Dore, Cam Whitcomb and Smith all back for another season, the Knights had a good core to build around.

"We've got some youth coming up, guys who can make plays," he said. "We'll see what happens."

"Matt's got some great guys," Holderman said of his Knight counterpart. "BJ and Isaac, they played really well."

However, he stated his team's desire to do everything in its power to get into the playoffs as the difference.

"They're fighting for their lives and they didn't want it to end here," the first-year head coach said. "But, if they do, we went out with our best game."

The Eagles, however, were not the fourth playoff team in Division IV. With Kennett tied with Plymouth and Monadnock for the final berth, the tiebreakers went at least three deep before coming back to the Huskies, meaning Kennett and Plymouth are on the outside looking in for the Division IV playoffs.

"We're just gearing up," Holderman said. "I wish we could've slipped in."

Martin Lord Osman
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