KENTON – Kenton was tested to the nth degree in last week’s thrilling 46-43 regional final victory over Bryan.
It probably won’t get any easier for Kenton (13-0) when it faces Clinton-Massie (12-1) Friday night at the University of Dayton’s Welcome Stadium in a Division IV state semifinal. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Against Bryan, Kenton pulled off a 70-yard scoring drive in the final minute of the game, and hung on for the hard-fought victory.
Kenton quarterback Grant Sherman was 56-of-78 passing for 486 yards and five touchdowns. In the final scoring drive, Sherman found Justin Sawmiller open for an 11-yard scoring strike.
On the night, Sawmiller made 24 catches for 165 yards and two touchdowns. Colyn Blackford had 17 catches for 147 yards and a TD. Matt Bahr hauled in nine passes for 87 yards. Conner Jones made five catches for 86 yards and a score for Kenton.
Longtime Kenton coach Mike Mauk realizes his team will need to be prepared for another tough challenge on Friday.
“Clinton-Massie is the defending Division IV state champion,” Mauk said. “They have some outstanding players on offense and some outstanding players on defense.
“They’re big, they’re strong and very physical. They’re not going to beat you with their passing, but they are really good at doing it when they have to. They’re going to run the football. They’re going to control the ball and they’re going to be very physical on offense. They score a lot of points with their offense, but they don’t give up a lot of points with their defense.”
Clinton-Massie defeated Kettering Alter 21-14 in its regional championship game. Bayle Wolf led the Clinton-Massie running attack with 122 yards on 38 carries and three TDs.
“I think for us, just trying to get some consistency on offense is important,” Mauk said. “When need to get first downs, score when we have an opportunity to score, protect our quarterback and try to get the ball to our guys who can make plays.”
Mauk feels that his team can handle the pressure.
“I think we saw how they handled things last Friday,” Mauk said about his team. “I would say that a lot of teams would not have been able to come back as often and as well as our guys did. Those guys made a lot of good plays. Our guys stood in there and competed, played hard and they made the plays they needed to make to win the game.”
[HEAD]DIVISION V STATE SEMIFINAL
[HEAD]COLDWATER (11-2) versus WEST JEFFERSON (12-1)
When: 7 p.m. on Saturday
Where: Piqua’s Alexander Stadium
When Coldwater has the ball: In its 60-13 regional final win over Huron, Coldwater racked up 541 total yards (357 rushing, 184 passing). Quarterback Brody Hoying accounted for the majority of those yards. Hoying rushed for 143 yards and three touchdowns and was 9-of-15 passing for 161 yards and three TDs. Mitch Schoenherr caught four passes for 71 yards and a TD. On the season, Coldwater is scoring 37.2 points per game.
West Jefferson held Hamilton Badin to 129 rushing yards in its 17-6 regional final victory last week. On the season, West Jefferson is giving up 13.2 points per game.
When West Jefferson has the ball: In its 17-6 regional final win over Hamilton Badin, West Jefferson’s ground game led the way. West Jefferson rushed for 282 yards. Logan Stepp led West Jefferson with 179 rushing yards. West Jefferson is scoring 32.7 points per game.
Coldwater is giving up 14.4 points per game this season.