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Sports · September 21, 2013

Kettle Run lacks offense, loses, 17-7, at Sherando

Photos/Lawrence Emerson
Sophomore running back Austin Lewis bolts 56 yards on Kettle Run’s biggest offensive play of the night.
Junior defensive end Abu Kai Kai stops Sherando’s Leequan Johnson.
Evan Szklennik battles for a short gain on a swing pass.
Christian Yancey and Corbin Gohlmann converge on Sherando quarterback Reid Entsminger.
Junior quarterback Denzel Champion recovers a bobbled snap.
Senior defensive lineman Austin Goins (58) tackles Johnson.
I don’t think that anyone — except the people on our sideline — thought we had a chance . . . . I’m disappointed, because we had a chance to shock some people.
— Kettle Run Coach Jeff Lloyd
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Thanks to its defense, Kettle Run hung close all night, with a shot at spoiling Friday’s homecoming for highly-regarded Sherando (3-1).

But, the Cougars (1-2) could do little when they had the ball and fell, 17-7.

Kettle Run committed three turnovers, dropped at least five passes and mustered just 132 total yards.

“I thought we played outstanding on one side of the ball (defensively) and terrible on the other,” Cougars Coach Jeff Lloyd said.

Still, Kettle Run trailed by just three points in the game’s final minute at the Warriors’ raucous Arrowhead Stadium in Stephens City.

Trailing 10-0 in the second quarter, sophomore running back Austin Lewis gave the Cougars a huge, sorely-need boost.

Lewis took a handoff to the left, broke through the line, cut to his right and bolted down the left sideline. After 56 yards, the Warriors knocked him out of bounds just short of the end zone.

Junior quarterback Denzel Champion pushed across the goal line two plays later.

Trailing, 10-7, Kettle Run took some momentum into the intermission and would receive the second-half kickoff.

But, the Cougars never mustered a serious scoring threat in the final 24 minutes. Turnovers, penalties, bobbled snaps, poor execution and Sherando’s strong pass rush stymied the offense.

Kettle Run also went without junior wide receiver David Eldridge, one of its most explosive playmakers, in the second half. Although he passed a concussion test, the coaching staff held Eldridge out the rest of the game after a second-quarter collision.

That eliminated Champion’s favorite target on a night he already had struggled.

“He struggled,” Coach Lloyd said. “It messes up your rhythm . . . .

“We thought we had a better chance, spreading the offense,” the coach added. “But, we couldn’t throw the ball enough. We had kids open; we just couldn’t get them the football.”

Time after time, however, the defense stopped Sherando and got the ball back.

“We played pretty good (defense) in the first half,” junior linebacker Bobby Hix said.

But, Hix said he had trouble with his pursuit angles after absorbing a big hit in the third quarter.

“You can only go up from here,” he added. “We can’t have another loss . . . . We’ve improved since the (season-opening) Tuscarora game. Our defense is much tougher, much more physical.”

Coach Lloyd agreed.

“We had a chance to beat a really good football team tonight,” he said. “I don’t think that anyone — except the people on our sideline — thought we had a chance . . . . I’m disappointed, because we had a chance to shock some people . . . .

“We get back to work and right the ship.”

Kettle Run will attempt to even its record at 2-2 next week at Skyline (3-1).

1 2 3 4 Final

Kettle Run












First quarter

Sherando — George Aston, 7-yard run (6:39), Tyler Jones kick.

Third quarter

Sherando — Jones, 27-yard field goal (9:24).

Kettle Run — Denzel Champion, 1-yard run (4:42), Evan Szklennik kick.

Fourth quarter

Kettle Run — Aston, 15-yard run (0:39), Jones kick.

First downs
Kettle Run 7, Sherando 10

Total yards
Kettle Run 132, Sherando 224

Kettle Run 36-135, Sherando 41-201

Passing yards
Kettle Run -3, Sherando 23

Kettle Run 2-14-2, Sherando 3-18-0

Kettle Run 4-1, Sherando 1-0

Kettle Run 4-36, Sherando 4-30
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