High School Football Notebook: Kenston Forest driven by offense
Published 6:37 am Tuesday, September 12, 2023
The numbers don’t lie. It’s been a very good high school football season so far for the Kenston Forest Kavaliers. It’s not just that the team is undefeated, 3-0 after beating Rappahannock County 56-22 last Thursday. It’s how the group is doing it.
The Kavaliers have scored 160 points over these first three games. They’re averaging 502 yards on offense and 53 points. On the defensive side, they’ve given up a total of 48 points, good enough to average just 16 per contest.
“I am very proud of this team and the way they have come together,” head coach Joe Kaiser said. “We are taking it one step at a time. Statistically we are having a historic year so far, (but) we have a long way to go and we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.”
Kenston Forest put that offense on display last Thursday, generating 578 total yards. Senior starter Noah Cole was 12 of 27 for 307 passing yards, with four touchdowns through the air. He also put up points using his feet, with 201 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 13 carries. Three of those touchdown passes went to tight end Gergo Hudak. The 6’7 ft. senior had six catches for 219 yards. He also suited up on the defensive side, where Hudak recorded five tackles and two sacks.
Playing on both sides of the ball is normal for Kenston Forest, as they’re involved with 8 on 8 football. This is mainly used by schools and divisions with smaller enrollments. Typically, most offenses have two fewer offensive tackles and one less receiver, but a creative coach can mix and match.
Players also compete on a smaller field. The width of the field is 40 yards. That’s about 13 1/3 narrower than the traditional field, which is 53 1/3 wide. All of that translates to a much faster game than regular high school football, with scores that can reach the 70s at times.
The Kenston Forest Kavaliers will look to keep their high octane offense going on Friday, Sept. 15, as they’ll go on the road to face the 1-1 Blessed Sacrament Hugenot Knights in Powhatan. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Another high mark for Central
It’s now 13 consecutive regular season wins and counting for the Central Lunenburg Chargers.
The latest victory required more than the customary 48 minutes of regulation action as Lunenburg took down the Brunswick Bulldogs in Lawrenceville, 42-41 in overtime. Seniors Thomias Morrison and Seth Bishop stepped up in the extra session, providing the necessary points to improve the overall record to 3-0 on the year.
“I told Seth that we want to be on defense first. I think that’s typically what you would do in overtime. Brunswick won the toss and they chose to be on offense first,” Lunenburg coach Will Thomas recalled.
“The kicking game is always crazy because you have to have a good snap, good hold and good kick. So I told the coaches if we score that we’re going for two. We can either go on offense and do it or run a fake on special teams. We all agreed that we’d run a fake on special teams.”
Following Brunswick’s touchdown and extra point that gave them a 41-34 lead, the Chargers saw Morrison break off a 10-yard touchdown run on Lunenburg’s first offensive play in OT. That set the stage for one of their captains, Bishop, to score the game-winner on a two-point conversion run while they faked the extra point try.
The Chargers now lead the all-time series with Brunswick 44-18-3. The contest, like many around the state, was impacted by weather.
“It was hot, started to rain and it finished late. Brunswick played really well and at times we played poorly. I credit Brunswick for some of that because we made a lot of errors with muffing an extra point, allowing a kickoff return for a touchdown and some other lapses,” added Thomas.
“It was a dogfight. Before half, we were up seven, driving to around the 30 and threw a pick. They run it back to our 45 and go score. We were up only one at half, and they got the ball first in the third quarter and scored.”
Lunenburg had two 100-yard rushers as Connor Mattox gained 145 yards with a touchdown on 20 attempts to go with 11 total tackles on defense, while Morrison added 120 yards and 3 TD’s on 18 attempts. Sophomore quarterback Reece Hart completed three passes for 43 yards and a touchdown with two of those completions going to Bishop, who also recorded three tackles for loss and caused a fumble.
“Seth had a really good night. Our sophomore quarterback had some big throws and if not for those we would’ve been in trouble,” Thomas said.
Giving Lunenburg’s defense fits was Jakel Edmonds, a versatile athlete and track standout who was inserted at quarterback for Brunswick for the first time all season.
“We hadn’t really seen him at quarterback. I don’t know how many rushing yards he had, but he had at least one run go for about 70 yards and we couldn’t catch him,” noted Thomas, not thrilled with some of his team’s execution as they’ve now allowed 75 points over the past two contests.
“Over the past two or three years, we’ve been pretty successful. To see us struggling is hard, but we’re definitely not giving up or throwing our hands up. We’re going to have to make some changes. We really don’t have a lot of depth to make too many changes. It showed a little bit at William Campbell, where we could stop the run, but couldn’t stop the pass. The other night against Brunswick, we couldn’t stop anything.”
Lunenburg will next travel to Mecklenburg County, a Class 4 school that they beat 54-20 a year ago.
Rescheduled game doesn’t go Eagles’ way
It started off exactly how Prince Edward wanted last Friday. The Eagles took the ball, drove down the field and scored, going up 8-0 after a successful two-point conversion. Then Prince Edward’s defense did what Coach Larry White had been preaching all year, shutting down Nelson County for the entire first quarter.
But, as we said, that was Friday night. As the game entered the second quarter, storms rolled in, bringing high winds, hail and rain. Originally delayed, play was eventually postponed, as the radar showed storms would be passing through for more than an hour. With both teams agreeing to suit up and finish the game Monday, the Eagles left with a 8-0 lead.
Monday wasn’t as encouraging for the Eagles. They hit a wall, unable to sustain drives or score against the Nelson County defense. The Governors, meanwhile, exploded out of the gate Monday night, putting up 18 points before halftime. The second half wasn’t much different, with Nelson adding six points in the third and another six in the fourth.
The loss drops Prince Edward to 0-3 on the season, having given up 141 points while only scoring 46 on the season. Up next is one of the biggest challenges of the young season, as the Eagles go on the road to face Northumberland. To date, the Indians have scored 147 points, averaging 49 per game. Their calling card, however, is the defense. In three games, Northumberland has only surrendered 13 points. And all 13 came in their Week Two 63-13 win over Middlesex.
Beyond Kenston Forest, here are scores across the region:
- Altavista 42 Cumberland 14
- Buckingham 33 William Campbell 6
- Smith Mountain Lake Christian Academy 35 Randolph-Henry 21
- Colonial Heights 40 Nottoway 0
Note: Regional Editor Brian Carlton contributed to this report.