MANSFIELD – Kenton’s playbook is jammed packed with a seemingly endless list of passes and bubble screens.
But it was a rare running play which caught Wooster Triway looking a tad bewildered.
Matt Bahr’s 68-yard TD run helped turn the tide in Kenton’s 46-6 victory over Wooster Triway Friday at Arlin Field.
Kenton (12-0) advances to the regional finals against the River Valley (11-0)/Bryan (11-0) winner at 7:30 p.m. Friday at a site to be named. Triway ends its year 9-3.
The first quarter was tied at 6 before the Wildcats ripped off 24 points in the second quarter to pull out to a 30-6 lead at the half.
The game was tied at 6 when Kenton elected to go for it on fourth-and-1 from the Kenton 32. Bahr took the handoff off left tackle and got loose for a 68-yard TD. That gave Kenton the lead to stay 14-6 with 6:20 left in the second quarter.
“No (we didn’t think of punting). We thought we could get the first down,” Kenton coach Mike Mauk said. “We put our big guys in there, and we just wanted to get a first down. The guys made some key blocks, he made a nice cut, took off, and it was a great run by him.”
Added Bahr, “I got in coach Mauk’s ear and said, ‘I can get you a first down’ and that’s all I was looking to do. It opened up really nice, and my blockers were there, and I was able to make a good cut and go.”
Bahr was his usual stone wall from his position in the secondary. He came up with two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
“He (Bahr) played his heart out,” Mauk said.
Of course, Kenton did its usual heavy share of throwing the ball. Quarterback Grant Sherman completed 21 of 37 for 419 yards. He threw five TDs and had three interceptions.
Kenton wide receiver Justin Sawmiller had seven catches for 142 yards and two TDs. Kollin Stollar had seven catches for 147 yards and one TD.
“Grant does a good job of getting them the ball, but we have some guys who are pretty good at getting open, catching the ball, then blocking for each other.”
Sherman hit Justin Sawmiller with a bubble screen, and he went 62 yards for a TD to make it 22-6 with 4:03 left in the second quarter.
Kenton pushed the lead to 30-6 when Sherman hit Stollar for a 28-yard TD strike with 46 seconds left in the half.
It was a sloppy first half in which Sherman had three interceptions, while Triway had four turnovers, including two on interceptions.
Besides the TD run, Bahr had two fumble recoveries and one interception in the first half.
Keeping the game close in the first quarter was Triway junior quarterback Parker Carmichael, who ran his team’s version of the spread. Carmichael completed 45 of 66 for 256 yards. He threw one TD, but had four interceptions.
Troy Havon had 16 receptions for 58 yards.
“They have some very good players,” Mauk said. “They do a great job with their system and their schemes. They’re where they’re at for a reason, and they played very well.
Besides the usual Kenton high-octane offense, it was the Wildcats’ defense which stood out, forcing seven Triway turnovers.
“Our defense did a good job. They bend, and they allowed them to make a lot of plays, but they kept them out of the end zone,” Mauk said. “Once they got down to the red zone, we did a good job of getting in there.”
Bahr said a key was not letting anyone get behind him.
“From the defensive backfield, we wanted to keep everything in front of us and not give up a big play and make tackles when we had to,” Bahr said.