CONWAY — Playing before its largest crowd in several years, the Kennett High football team gave its fans plenty to cheer about in an impressive 34-7 victory over Pembroke Academy at Gary Millen Stadium on Friday night. The Eagles were in control throughout with senior captain Dom Jones scoring four touchdowns to lead the offense.
The win lifted Kennett to 2-0 on the young season in Division II North, while the Spartans fell to 0-2.
“It was a good team win,” Vaughn Beckwith, Eagles’ head coach said. “We did a lot of things well.”
Kennett scored on its first possession on Friday the 13th, going 56 yards on 13 plays. Parker Coleman found Justin Olson on a 16-yard pass play on the opening play from scrimmage. Coleman was 4-4 for 52 yards on the drive, including a 13-yard pass to Braeden Bailey on third-and-14; an 18-yard connection to Jones, who made a sensational one-handed catch in stride on fourth-and-12; and a 5-yard strike to Jones on third-and-7.
“I think Parker is finally starting to look a little more comfortable,” Beckwith said. “Friday he played relaxed and I think it showed (in the results).”
Coleman was 8-10 for 129 yards and two touchdowns through the air.
Jones capped the drive with a 2-yard run around the right end with 5:38 left in the first quarter. Bailey booted the extra point for a 7-0 lead.
Pembroke managed a first down on its first possession but was forced to punt after five plays. Justin Olson fielded the punt at the KHS 30 and returned it 29 yards to the Spartans’ 41-yard line.
Four plays later, Jones was back in the end zone. Coleman hit him across the middle and the talented senior went around the right side, stiff-arming a Spartan as he crossed the goal line. Bailey added the extra point to put KHS in front 14-0 with 1:23 left in the opening quarter.
The Spartans went backwards on their next possession with TJ Holland and Gaven Gagne recording tackles for a loss. The Pembroke punt was blocked by Russell Chick, giving Kennett the ball on the Spartans’ 20.
Three plays later, Coleman found Jones for an 8-yard TD pass with 9:24 left in the first half. Bailey tacked on the PAT.
The defense for the hometown flock continued to dominate the line of scrimmage on Pembroke’s next possession. EthanOuellette delivered the hit of the night with a bone-jarring tackle setting up fourth-and-four. The Spartans went for it, but Heath Woodward stuffed a run for no gain.
Kennett took over at the Pembroke 33-yard line but was unable to complete the drive, turning the ball over on downs.
Pembroke was again stymied by the Kennett defense with Braden Santuccio and Bobby Graustein combining on a sack and then Kyle Perry had a tackle for a 6-yard loss to close out the first half.
Pembroke’s first possession of the third quarter followed a familiar pattern with Kennett stopping the run and putting constant pressure on the quarterback. Holland had a sack for a loss of 11 yards, while Ouellette and Jack Wheeler came up with key tackle on third down to end the drive.
Kennett returned to the Land of Six with a seven-play, 63-yard drive: Jones had a run for 21 yards; Evan Koroski picked up 4 yards on a carry; Perry had a rush for 3 yards; Trevor LaRusso hauled in a 9-yard pass; Koroski fan for 3 yards; Perry picked up 8 on a carry; and Jones went the final 15 yards with highlight-reel run in which he dragged three Spartans the final 10 yards into the end zone.
“The last touchdown, Dom was hit at the 10 and carried guys the rest of the way, he’s tough to bring down,” Beckwith said. “I think he really likes playing out on the wing because it allows him to use his athletic ability in space.”
The extra point fell short, but KHS was up 27-0 with 3:32 left in the quarter.
Kennett closed out its scoring on a three-play, 40-yard drive capped off by Koroski scoring the first high school touchdown of his career when he went untouched up the middle on a 7-yard run with 10:23 to play. Bailey’s extra point was perfect, putting the hosts in front 34-0.
Pembroke avoided the shutout with a late touchdown.
Beckwith and the Eagles were thrilled with the large spectator turnout.
“We had a very nice crowd,” he said. “People were very supportive, which was great to see. (Laughing) I heard the concession stand was very busy all night.”
Kennett is scheduled back into action this Friday (7 p.m.) with a trip to Concord to play Merrimack Valley (1-1).
“They had a tough year last year bust obviously they’re better this year,” Beckwith said.
Other results from Week 2: Bow beat Kingswood 48-0 in Wolfeboro; Merrimack Valley beat Gilford-Belmont 20-17 in Gilford; Hollis-Brookline beat Hanover 48-14 at home; Plymouth beat John Stark 44-0 in Weare; St. Thomas beat Alvirne 13-12 in Dover; Souhegan beat ConVal 41-0 at home; Milford beat Manchester West 35-13 at home; Pelham beat Sanborn 34-0 at home.
Division 2 North standings: Bow, 2-0; Kennett, 2-0; Plymouth, 1-1; Merrimack Valley, 1-1; John Stark, 1-1; Belmont-Gilford, 1-1; Kingswood, 0-2; Pembroke, 0-2; and Hanover, 0-2.
Division 2 South standings: Milford, 2-0; Souhegan, 2-0; St. Thomas, 1-1; Alvirne, 1-1; Hollis-Brookline, 1-1; ConVal, 1-1; Manchester West, 1-1; Pelham, 1-1; and Sanborn, 0-2.
This week’s schedule
Friday: Pembroke at Manchester West, 6 p.m.; Kingswood at Hanover, 7 p.m.; Souhegan at Alvirne, 7 p.m.; Pelham at Milford, 7 p.m.; and Hollis-Brookline at ConVal, 7 p.m.
Saturday: John Stark at Bow, 2 p.m; Belmont-Gilford at Plymouth, 2 p.m.; and St. Thomas at Sanborn, 2 p.m.