The Kenton Wildcats tortured the Wapakoneta Redskins’ secondary Friday in a 52-16 rout in the Western Buckeye League season opener for both teams in varsity football action at Harmon Field.
The Wildcats’ passing attack accounted for 448 yards with six touchdowns by senior quarterback Grant Sherman, who threw for 425 yards passing and all six TDs.
Kenton rolled to a 52-0 advantage through three quarters with its starters in the game.
“Hats off to Kenton. Coach Mauk, his entire staff and the kids did a great job tonight,” Wapak varsity coach Doug Frye said. “Kenton has a real good football team. We’ve got to get better.”
Kenton scored five times on its first six first-half possessions. The lone empty drive was thwarted by an interception by Wapak junior defensive back Quinn Lotridge.
Sherman connected on three first-quarter TD tosses to senior Matt Bahr, on scoring plays of 11, 31 and 36 yards.
Wapak junior quarterback Kodi Morgan threw an interception on his team’s second drive of the game.
The Wildcats posted two more TDs just over 4 minutes in the second quarter as Sherman found junior Kollin Stollar on a 39-yard connection, while Bahr had a 2-yard rushing TD.
The Redskins manufactured a 16-play drive on their final possession of the half.
The drive ended, however, when Kenton stopped Wapak on a 4th-and-goal from the half-yard line in Kenton territory.
In the third quarter, Sherman added 11-yard TD passes to Conner Jones and Stollar to reach the 52-0 margin.
The Redskins’ first-team offense turned the ball over on downs two straight times on their last trips on the field.
The second drive resembled the lengthy first-half drive, as Wapak could not convert a 4th-and-2 inside the Kenton 10-yard line seeking to post its first points of the game.
Wapak scored three straight times in the fourth quarter with mostly its second team offense and defense in the ball game.
The Redskins first broke through on the scoreboard on a 39-yard run by sophomore Cameron Lauck. A successful PAT by Bailey Hinegardner made the score 52-7, Kenton.
Wapak forced a safety with 3:01 to play, as sophomore Jared Cockerell tackled Kenton freshman quarterback Trent Hites in the end zone.
Wapak sophomore Cody Klosterman recovered a fumble late in the fourth quarter.
For the Redskins’ second TD, sophomore quarterback Aaron Huffman completed a 27-yard pass to Merricle. Junior kicker Alex Gornall nailed the PAT to conclude the scoring at 52-16.
“It’s always good when we get those kids in, so it was good to see them in the game tonight,” Frye said about the non-starters seeing playing time Friday.
The game also seemed to be overtaken by penalties at times, as each team combined for 19 penalties Friday.
Stollar led the Wildcats with 162 yards receiving. Jones added 96, Bahr 78 and Justin Sawmiller 71.
Lauck led Wapak in rushing with 58 yards on two attempts. Senior fullback Zach Schmerge added 57 yards on 15 carries.
Merricle was Wapak’s leading receiver with one catch for 27 yards.
Morgan completed two passes for 23 yards. Huffman was 1-of-2 for 27 yards.
The Redskins will resume their season next Friday with their third straight home game against the Elida Bulldogs, who took a 28-27 loss in overtime against Defiance on Friday.
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