Vikings fall to 2A leader
STEVENSVILLE — Kent Island High’s football team racked up 490 yards total offense Friday evening at Andy Schipul Stadium, the Bucs gashing Class 1A contender Cambridge-South Dorchester at nearly every turn en route to a statement-making, 49-14 victory.
STEVENSVILLE — The Buccaneers’ offense was bound to have a breakout game at some point.
After six up-and-down performances to begin the season, the momentous occasion arrived with gusto.
Kent Island High’s football team racked up 490 yards total offense Friday evening at Andy Schipul Stadium, the Bucs gashing Class 1A contender Cambridge-South Dorchester at nearly every turn en route to a statement-making, 49-14 victory.
Seniors Braden Doyle and Austin Ryan paced the assault on the ground for the Bucs, posting 23 rushes for 279 yards and 22 for 133, respectively, as Kent Island moved to 7-0, the Bayside Conference’s lone unbeaten team.
There were more than a few murmurs to begin the season that the Bucs would take a step back, that a revamped line would need time to gel, that the rest of the Bayside may have closed the gap to the pre-eminent program of the last half-decade.
Following the drubbing of the high-flying Vikings, it may be time to perish any and all of the aforementioned thoughts.
“I don’t think I’ve even broken 100, honestly,” Doyle said of his career-high rushing game, which included two touchdowns. “I just needed to be patient, running, because that’s what our offense is. We’ve been working hard all season just to show them what we can do.”
Added Ryan, who scored four TDs: “We love it. We go no shirt in cold practices, tough up. We got to give credit to our Oline — they blocked good, Braden blocked good, everything worked out.”
Cambridge-SD fell to 5-2 after scoring a season-low in points; the team came in having tallied the most points in the Bayside by a wide margin. Outside another strong effort from Tre’ Lake (13-118), the Vikings maintained little consistency against a disciplined Kent Island defense, which has now allowed only 50 points in the seven wins.
Junior quarterback Tyler Harding connected on TD passes of 48 and 10 yards for Cambridge-SD, but tossed three interceptions — one each to Kent Island’s ballhawking secondary comprised of juniors Sean Mooney, Dylan Finlay and Selby Scaggs.
“We shot ourselves in the foot, quite a few times,” Vikings head coach Jake Coleman said. “We didn’t take care of the ball like we needed to in various situations. We had opportunities here or there, but we just weren’t able to make the plays.
“At the same time, it’s a lot about the pressure Kent Island puts on you,” Coleman added.
The Vikings finished with a more-than-respectable 298 yards total offense, and had a chance to make an early statement on the road, but a promising drive buoyed by runs of 24 and 34 yards by Tajh Molock (43 yards rushing, 30 receiving) and Lake, respectively, stalled on Kent Island’s 21 when the snap was fumbled on fourth down, leading to a turnover on downs.
“We saw that they were driving up the field really quick,” said Doyle, a two-way standout who also plays linebacker. “They got really close to the touchdown, and that stop was really huge.”
The miscue loomed large, as the Bucs drove down the field on nine plays, capped by a 14-yard Ryan touchdown where we weaved through the defense straight up the middle. Doyle was sprung for runs of 10 and 34 yards on the left side with assists from Dylan Finlay deep in the secondary; the left side of the field was open for Doyle all throughout, and head coach Damian Ferragamo exploited the mismatches to great success.
“Getting the ball back and going down and scoring, that was a game-changer,” Doyle said. “That really changed the momentum of the game. Our line was really good today. One play was working and they couldn’t stop, so we just kept running it.”
Added Ferragamo: “One thing I love about our team is the unselfishness. We have three tailbacks, we have one of the most talented receivers in the league (Mooney) and he didn’t catch a pass today, didn’t have a target today. But they don’t care, they are so happy about the team win. It’s special to be part of these guys.”
The Vikings tied it for the only time following Ryan’s first TD, Harding locating Jimmy Schulze on a 48-yard strike, coupling with Harding’s point-after kick to make it a 7-7, with 2 minutes, 20 seconds left in the first quarter.
Cambridge-SD squibbed the ensuing kickoff, leaving the Bucs in great field position on the Vikings’ 41. Doyle wasted little time giving Kent Island the lead for good, bouncing left and dashing untouched into the end zone for a 41-yard score on the next snap, Bert Schrecongost converting the second of his seven PATs to push Kent Island ahead to stay at 14-7.
“We try to focus on blocking our man as much as we can,” junior Bucs lineman Garrett Redden said. “Those cuts kind of helped us, helped us get the yards we really wanted. They taunt us, they say we’re small or something, but that doesn’t stop us. Coach was saying the whole game that this is one of the best offensive games we’ve had.”
A 6-yard Doyle run capped a 12-play, 78yard Kent Island drive, Doyle chewing up much of the yardage on a 45-yard scamper left. It was 28-7 on Ryan’s second TD, this one a 3-yarder up the gut that arrived on the heels of Harding’s first interception, an underthrown lob to Molock that Mooney picked off at Kent Island’s 41. The three-TD bulge was taken into halftime, Schrecongost pulling a 41-yard field goal short and left with no time left in the first half.
Doyle had already racked up 195 yards by the break, and Ryan added another 74. The Buccaneers’ offense, which had shown only flashes while the defense and special teams carried much of the load through a 6-0 start coming in, was finally looking like Buccaneer offenses of yesteryears.
“We ran a play early and it wasn’t stopped, so we just kept on running it because it was being successful,” Ferragamo said. “A lot of it has to do with giving the ball to Braden Doyle, he’s a talented guy. Austin complemented him well, Cameron (Bouie) came in at the end and cleaned things up.
“We had a little bit more attitude on the offensive line, and I’m really proud of these guys,” Ferragamo added.
The plays appeared simple enough: good blocking and patient running leading to lengthy drives that was slowly grinding down the Vikings. Coleman, however, had a different take on how the Bucs slowly dismantled his defense on this cool, autumn evening.
“They do stuff more fancy than it appears,” Coleman said. “They just have tremendous coaching and the players are very, very physical. Those guys are just very good at the things you have to be to be a top-level team.
“They make the complicated look simple,” Coleman added. “At the same time, though, they do a lot of things formationally within their power football scheme that just creates major issues for you.”
A fourth straight Kent Island TD, a 9-yard Ryan run with 8:19 left in the third made it 35-7, and following a second turnover on downs by Cambridge-SD deep in Buccaneer territory, the home team had an opportunity to start the running clock.
A second-down handoff to Ryan from junior quarterback Jordan Marciano, however, was fumbled, and senior Vikings linebacker Jordan Tibbs recovered.
Two plays later, Cambridge-SD halted a scoring drought spanning more than 24 minutes, as Harding threaded a pass to Molock, who was tightly guarded by Scaggs, for a 10-yard TD.
It didn’t take the Buccaneers long to restore a four-TD lead, as the onsides kick started Kent Island on the Vikings’ 47, the distanced chewed up on runs of 17 (Doyle), 7 (Ryan), 11 (Ryan) and 12 (Doyle) before Ryan scored his fourth touchdown on a 6-yard carry.
The Vikings were again stopped on fourth down on their next drive, and five plays later, Marcianio capped the scoring on a firstand-25 bomb to tight end John Van Wie, the 6-foot-3 junior completely unmarked on the 60-yard catch-and-run that triggered the running clock with around 5 minutes left to play.
The Vikings have dates with Washington and winless Snow Hill before the annual grudge match against Easton. Bohemia Manor’s 42-28 win over Patterson Mill narrowed Cambridge-SD’s lead in the 1A East playoff race, but the Vikings remain firmly in the driver’s seat of the region as the season hits the stretch run.
“I think we’re still well in it in our 1A East Region,” Coleman said. “We can still finish at the 1 or 2 with a strong finish.”
The Bucs, meanwhile, are sitting pretty atop the Class 2A East Region, and have dates at Easton, home against Parkside and the annual Week 10 battle with Queen Anne’s County. Kent Island is seeking its second undefeated regular season, having also run the table in 2012.
Cambridge-South Dorchester’s Jimmy Schulze hauls in a pass for a 48-yard touchdown against Kent Island Friday, Oct. 14.