KENTON — With 66 points lighting up Kenton’s side of the scoreboard by the end of the night, it was hard to fathom that there was a point on Friday that Kenton’s offense looked a bit frazzled.
Kenton quarterback Grant Sherman shook off a slow start and then threw for 460 yards and seven touchdowns while wideout Justin Sawmiller had a monster day receiving and in the return game in Kenton’s runaway 66-14 win over St. Marys at Robinson Field.
Kenton’s Sherman, who went 25-of-46 for 460 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions, connected with his favorite target Sawmiller 11 times for 285 yards and two touchdowns. Sawmiller also returned a punt 67 yards for a touchdown.
“We got off to a slow start, but a lot of that is attributed to St. Marys,” Kenton head coach Mike Mauk said. “I thought they came out and played very well early. We drove the ball down the field but didn’t score...But once our passing game got going, it was very effective tonight.”
Kenton looked out of sync for much of the first quarter.
St. Marys (0-3, 0-2 WBL) forced Kenton to turn the ball over on downs on the first offensive drive of the game. St. Marys defensive back Jared Knous then picked off Sherman for his third interception of the season.
After Kenton’s defense forced a three-and-out, Sherman hit Sawmiller on a 27-yard touchdown strike to begin the offensive barrage.
“They have speed to separate on you,” St. Marys head coach Greg Phillips said. “You get a couple of cracks back there, a couple seams and it just blows up on you.”
After another Rider three-and-out, Sawmiller took a punt 67 yards for a touchdown. Mauk thought it was the most important play of the game.
“Justin’s punt return was a key turning point in the game,” Mauk said. “It was still close and they were making plays and I thought it took some of the wind out of St. Marys’ sails.”
St. Marys responded with a Trent Slife 28-yard touchdown run on a sweep around the right end. Clayton Trogdlon’s extra point got the Riders to within 14-7.
St. Marys’ smaller running backs had success against Kenton linebacker Noah Furbush and the rest of the Kenton defense. St. Marys rushed for 187 yards on Friday, with speedy backs Jared Knous and Trent Slife leading the way with 53 and 54 yards rushing, respectively.
But Kenton was simply too much to handle. The Wildcats scored three straight touchdowns to end the first half up 34-7 when Sherman hit Kollin Stollar on a 59-yard pass for a score, Sawmiller with a 12-yard touchdown pass and Colyn Blackford on a 27-yard strike in the end zone.
The Roughriders picked off Sherman twice, as Logan Maze stepped in front of another Sherman pass late in the second quarter.
Kenton opened the a third quarter in which it would scored 34 points with a 15-yard touchdown from Sherman to Stollar.
St. Marys answered back with a five-play, 62-yard touchdown drive that mostly consisted of yards through the air. St. Marys quarterback Isaac Fitzgerald hit Eric Spicer on a 31-yard pass to convert a third and long and two plays later Fitzgerald rolled out to his left and found Jared Knous in the middle of the field. Knous broke two tackles, spun through another tackle and raced 35 yards for the touchdown to make it 42-14.
After Kenton’s Matt Bahr picked off Fitzgerald later in the quarter, Sherman connected with Sawmiller on a 14-yard touchdown pass and a 30-yard TD to Stollar. Back-up quarterback Trent Hites connected with Angelo Lombardo on an 18-yard score to put the Wildcats up 66-14.
Kenton totaled 574 yards of offense in the win.
St. Marys hosts Elida next Friday. The Bulldogs lost to Wapakoneta 42-0 on Friday night.
St. Marys at Kenton Football Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/smeveningleader/sets/72157635511480972/show/