Kettle Run loses defensive battle with Sherando football team, 17-7
Yards were hard to come by Friday for Kettle Run and Denzel Champion finished with only 24 as a runner and negative-3 as a passer against Sherando. --Photo by Rick Foster
Delmar Christian made an exceptional lunging, left-handed catch Friday at Sherando’s football field in Stephens City.
Unfortunately, he made it while standing on the sideline as a Kettle Run assistant coach. Both teams could have used Christian’s hand(s) between the lines. They combined to complete only 5 of 31 passes for a meager 18 yards.
So, instead, the feet of Sherando quarterback Reid Entsminger determined the outcome of the game. He led the Warriors to a 17-7 victory by running for 115 yards on 17 carries in an otherwise defensive standstill.
Entsminger finished with only 21 yards on 3-for-17 passing, while Cougars quarterback Denzel Champion had negative-3 yards and two interceptions on 2-for-14 passing. The Warriors (3-1) also held Kettle Run (1-2) to 135 rushing yards on 26 carries.
“Our strategy was to keep Champion in the pocket,” Sherando coach Bill Hall said. “If he gets on the edge, it’s not a good sign for us. ... We felt like we knew the concepts of their passing game.”
Champion ran for only 24 yards on 13 carries despite scoring the Cougars’ lone touchdown.
Trailing 10-0 in the first quarter, Kettle Run running back Austin Lewis broke free for a 56-yard gain on the Cougars’ fifth possession of the game. He set up Kettle Run with a first-and-1 situation. Three plays later, Champion finally scored a 1-yard touchdown to narrow the Warriors’ lead to 10-7 with 4 minutes, 42 seconds remaining in the period.
The Kettle Run defense then held Sherando scoreless over the next 28 minutes, but the Cougars failed to score again. In fact, in the second half, Kettle Run had only 29 yards of total offense.
“Our defense played really well tonight,” Kettle Run coach Jeff Lloyd said. “Offensively, we let them down.”
Sherando had 201 rushing yards, but it took 41 carries. Much of that yardage came on a 54-yard scramble up the middle by Entsminger in the second quarter.
"They just had a good quarterback. He's quick,” said defensive back Austin Lewis, who, as a running back, led Kettle Run with 67 yards on eight carries.
Entsminger’s run set up a 7-yard touchdown run by George Aston (37 yards on nine carries), which gave the Warriors a 7-0 lead with 6:39 remaining in the second quarter.
Tyler Jones gave Sherando a 10-0 lead with 9:24 remaining in the first half by kicking a 27-yard field goal.
After his 54-yard burst, Entsminger added five more runs of 10-or-more yards in the game, but excluding his gains, Sherando had only two plays of more than 10 yards – a 12-yard pass and a 17-yard touchdown run by Aston with 39 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
“Best defensive game we've played all year,” said linebacker De Jackson, who had perhaps the best defensive performance of his career but, as a running back, had only 27 yards rushing on 11 carries.
The Cougars finished with 11 tackles-for-loss and held Sherando to minimal gains much of the game to compensate for three turnovers by the Kettle Run offense.
“Their front is tough,” Hill said. “They put so much pressure on you. We had some free receivers. We just couldn’t get the ball off.”
Lloyd said the same about Kettle Run’s passing game.
"We missed a lot of reads tonight. We had kids open. We just couldn't get them the football,” he said. “We just couldn't throw the ball enough to” free up the run game.
Over the past two seasons, the Cougars averaged two losses and 12 wins per campaign. Now they have already lost two games this season, but Lloyd remains optimistic about his young team.
“I don’t think there were a lot of people – other than that were on our sidelines tonight – that thought we even had a chance to win,” he said. “I’m disappointment because we had a chance to really shock some people. … We had a chance to win.”
Trailing 10-7 with 7:38 remaining in the fourth quarter, Kettle Run forced a punt and took possession near the 50-yard line. Jackson, however, fumbled on the Cougars’ first play from scrimmage.
"We hurt ourselves today,” Jackson said. “Each loss this year has been with [hurting] ourselves.”
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