Football: Kennett overcomes slow start to top Octorara

This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website.
Nick_Dunlevy lead both teams in rushing yards, even as a quarterback. (Candice Monhollan)

Nick_Dunlevy lead both teams in rushing yards, even as a quarterback. (Candice Monhollan)

KENNETT SQUARE – He may only be a sophomore, but Kennett‘s Nick Dunlevy sure doesn’t play like one.

The quarterback not only threw for 125 yards, but he also led both teams with 136 rushing yards in the Blue Demons’ 32-20 Ches-Mont League American Division win over visiting Octorara Friday night.

“The kid is just a gamer,” said Kennett head coach Scott Green. “His greatest asset is he really has an understanding of the game of football.”

Leading a 2-5 team into a game against Octorara (1-6), Dunleavy still faced a tough challenge in the opponent.

… [Please continue the story on the Daily Local News website by clicking here.]

“At any time, they have three or four players that, in our opinion, could break it,” he said. “We worked all week with using one of our assistant coaches as a representative of No. 12. We knew that we needed to play good, flat defense.”

Unfortunately, Green’s team didn’t get off to the start they wanted when their first two possessions of the game ended in turnovers.

Dunlevy was picked off in only the third play of the game by senior Terrel Thompson, which set Octorara up for a 6-yard run by Malik Norris a few plays later.

On the ensuing kickoff, a fumble by Kennett handed the ball right back to Octorara.

“I knew we still had a good game plan, we just didn’t really have time to start executing it,” Green said. “We just calmed things down a little bit and told everybody we’re just going to continue with our game plan.”

Kennett was able to settle in and score on the next two drives and keep Octorara from adding to their score until the third quarter.

The Braves quickly tied things back up not even two minutes into the second half when they marched down the field on four plays for 53 yards, with Corey Cooper’s 38-yard touchdown run highlighting the drive.

The Blue Demons regained the lead on a touchdown from Dunleavy after a 29-yard run and followed up with a sack on Octorara quarterback Alex Gooden in the end zone for a safety and another field goal from Brett Rose.

The lingering issue Kennett had a tough time getting past were the penalties in the game.

“It’s stalling a drive unnecessarily,” Green said of the penalties. “We’re really stopping ourselves in a lot of these drives and we’ve got to clean that up.”

Octorara tried to make a game of it after a touchdown from Gooden pulled the Braves to within five points, but a failed onside kick and another Kennett touchdown put the game out of reach.

Despite some of the mistakes in the game from the penalties and turnovers, securing another win on the season is a big morale booster for the Blue Demons.

“The win is important when you have an opportunity to get a third win [and] build some confidence,” Green said. “In the meantime, we need to clean up our mistakes. I’m happy for the kids for the win, but I’m not overly happy with the way we played.”

Though the mistakes left a bit of a sour taste in Green’s mouth, it’s hard to overlook the play by Dunlevy and how he took control of the game at times.

“I know that through his play, he’s won the team over,” Green said. “The seniors and juniors are all responding well. We don’t look at him as a sophomore. He’s the quarterback of our team.”

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Categories: Football, High School Sports, Sports

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