STEVENSVILLE — Lisa Heath says football is her son Kasey’s “fun sport.”
Well, Kasey and Kent Island High’s football team had a whole lot of fun Friday night.
A junior running back and inside linebacker, Heath carried 15 times for 116 yards and a career-high four touchdowns, and was part of defense that helped turn an expected offensive fireworks display into a 42-13 Buccaneers’ runaway over Stephen Decatur at Andy Schipul Stadium.
“This is my fun sport. I love football,” Heath said.
And Heath was quick to spread the love to his teammates.
“The o-line did the best work that a running back could ask for,” said Heath, who had touchdown runs of 40, 11, 23 and 2 yards. “I had a couple of touchdowns where I didn’t even get touched going through the hole. I just think our o-line did awesome. My wide receivers held blocks on the outside for those DBs not to get in. It was awesome. I love it.”
There was plenty for the Bucs (3-0) to love Friday.
Decatur (2-1) forged a 7-7 tie with 4 minutes, 7 seconds remaining in the first quarter, when Luke Mergott scored on a 2-yard run and Brogan Eastlack tacked on the extra point.
Kent Island’s next two possessions ended with a punt and quarterback Matt Burnside getting intercepted.
But the Bucs scored on two of their three second-quarter possessions — Burnside took a knee to end the third possession on the last play of the first half — then scored the first three times they had the ball in the second half for a 42-7 lead that set the running clock in motion after the first play of the fourth quarter.
“It was a really good night for us tonight,” Kent Island head coach Damian Ferragamo said. “It was a tight game and we got a little momentum at the end of the first half, and it carried over to the second half. Momentum in football is a huge thing.”
While the Bucs used that momentum for 35 consecutive points, the defense did its part.
Kent Island was 7 for 7 stopping Decatur on third down through the first three quarters. The Seahawks didn’t convert on third down until late in the fourth quarter on their final scoring drive. And interceptions by Keegan O’Brien and Tristan Ridgeway ended consecutive Decatur possessions, leading to a pair of short touchdown drives that turned a 28-7 lead into a 42-7 bulge.
“We knew they were one of the best teams in the (Bayside) conference coming in, and they showed us tonight,” said Decatur head coach Jake Coleman, whose team had scored 65 and 48 points in its first two games. “But you can’t go out here against a really good team like them and have the penalties that we had. I think we had 100 yards in penalties.
“We were constantly having to play four downs from 15 yards plus,” Coleman continued. “And you can’t do that against a good defense. I mean Tim Goodrich, their defensive coordinator, he’s as good as anybody around. You can’t let him pin his ears back and come after you like that. We’re a better team than this.”
Kent Island covered 82 yards in six plays on the game’s opening possession, with Heath slanting off left tackle for a 40-yard touchdown run. James Gardner, a perfect 6 for 6 on extra-point attempts, drilled the point-after for a 7-0 lead with 9:20 left in the first quarter.
Decatur, which totaled 96 yards rushing and had senior quarterback Ashten Snelsire complete 13 of 27 for 173 yards, tied the game in the first quarter. The Seahawks then got the game’s first turnover, when Gavin Solito picked off Burnside on the final play of the opening quarter.
“It looked like in the very beginning it was going to be a dogfight,” Coleman said. “We got the early turnover we needed; the momentum shift.”
Kent Island held Decatur to a three-an-out and got a solid punt return from Mason Brockington to midfield. Eight plays later, Burnside (9 of 18, 129 yards) connected with Ryan Sweiderk for a 12-yard scoring pass for a 13-7 lead with 6:35 left in the half.
Decatur’s ensuing possession ended with Snelsire getting sacked by David Van Wie and Austin Holland on fourth down at the Kent Island 42.
The Bucs proceeded to widen their lead. Burnside scrambled for 12 yards on third down, then watched Griebel extend the drive with a 3-yard pickup on fourth down. Griebel carried for 15, snagged a pass for another 14 before Heath was sprung off the left side for an 11-yard touchdown run and a 21-7 halftime lead.
“I know the score he had at the end of the first half, ‘cause that was a heckuva run,” Ferragamo said of Heath. “He was barreling down the field. But Kasey, he’s almost like a throwback football player, you know, middle linebacker, running back; plays real physical on both sides of the ball. He’s a team player. He’ll pass block. He’ll run block.”
Oh, and he’ll score.
Burnside’s 1-yard quarterback sneak pushed Kent Island’s lead to 28-7 with 4:20 left in the third. O’Brien’s interception set up Heath’s 23-yard touchdown jaunt late in the third quarter.
Ridgeway then made one of the game’s more impressive plays when he leaped to block a Snelsire pass and on the way down managed to grab the ball for an interception that set up Heath’s final touchdown.
“Our defense has played great for a decade,” Ferragamo said. “We expect it.
“They present a hell of a challenge,” Ferragamo said of Decatur’s offense. “They’ve got a quarterback, I think (he’s been) four years on varsity. They’ve got so many receivers. So they’re really dangerous. We were lucky to make some plays and gain that momentum and that made the difference.”
So did the Bucs offensive line.
“I’m extraordinarily proud of our offensive line,” Ferragamo said of Luke Ferragamo, Tyler Herring, Charlie Ritz, Jeremy Smith and Cooper Dellane. “I think throughout the game we kind of wore them down a little bit. Early on we had a little bit of trouble running the ball, hit some decent runs. But then we started to get real consistent in the second half. And those guys just get nasty. We’ve got five real good offensive linemen, four of them are returners from last year. So we rely on them a whole lot in the run game because we don’t do anything fancy.”
N. Caroline 49 Kent County 7
RIDGELY — Hunter Walters scored on an 80-yard kickoff return, TJ Bunce had a 15-yard scoring run, and Vidal Bonds scored from 41 yards out, all in the first quarter, as the Bulldogs improved to 2-1.
Owen Doyle carried five times for 84 yards, which included a 35-yard touchdown run for North Caroline. Bonds, who added a 5-yard scoring run later in the game, finished with four carries for 75 yards.
Jaeden Watkins had a 37-yard touchdown run and Sean Bunce returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown for the Bulldogs.
Cambridge-SD 32 J.M. Bennett 14
CAMBRIDGE — KJ Dockins carried nine times for 114 yards and a touchdown, and Tayon Fletcher had 113 yards and a TD on 20 carries, pacing the Vikings to their second straight win.
Dario Belizaire rushed four times for 85 yards and a touchdown, and also caught a 57-yard touchdown pass as Cambridge-South Dorchester improved to 2-1.