By Mark Ruschau
COLDWATER -- The Coldwater Cavaliers used big plays from their special teams to augment a solid defensive effort to defeat the Kenton Wildcats, 40-6, Friday night at Cavalier Stadium in the season opener for both squads.
The Cavaliers' defense was in control for most of the evening, allowing Kenton just 163 yards and 10 first downs. The Cavalier defense had 10 plays in which they stopped Kenton for negative yards or no yards while also picking off three passes, taking one in for a score.
Coldwater's special teams were also special as they scored 12 points on their own and set up a third score. Senior place kicker Trevor Stromblad had a solid night, hitting 5-for-5 on extra points and added a field goal.
"One thing that has really bothered me for a long time and it has stuck in my craw, is one time a sportscaster made the comment that most high school teams do not spend enough time on special teams and that it's a just a joke to most high school coaches," said Coldwater coach John Reed. "We spend an unbelievable amount of time on special teams. We spend all the practice on Monday on special teams and we spend the entire practice on Thursday on special teams and it does pay off. I thought our special teams was the difference in the game."
Coldwater took the opening kickoff and went 68 yards in nine plays to score for the first time on the season with senior quarterback Steve Borger hooking up with classmate Justin Kahlig on an 18-yard scoring strike. On the drive, Borger was 4-for-4 passing for 64 yards and was 12-of-16 on the night for 146 yards and two scores "One of the things I like tonight was the way our young offensive line came together," said Reed. "Our quarterback played like a second-year starter. He's one of the most composed young men. He audibled out of four plays and got us out of three bad plays just because he knows what to do."
Kenton took its first drive of the season the distance as well as it went 71 yards 18 plays covering over nine minutes, with Rodney Ferrell going the final yard for the score.
After the opening drive, the Coldwater defense shut down the Kenton offense allowing just 92 yards on the Wildcats' last 35 plays.
"I thought the defense did a great job of containing their offense," said Reed. "We knew what they were going to do, but it's very difficult to simulate their speed in practice and once we got up to speed, I thought the defense did a good job."
Coldwater got its first big special teams play on the next series. After being stopped on three plays offensively, Brady Geier's punt was muffed by the Kenton return man and was recovered by Ryan Geier at the Kenton 30.
Ross Homan ran the ball on six straight plays to cover the 30 yards, scoring the touchdown from five yards out to make the score 14-6.
Coldwater then turned the game into a rout as it scored 10 more points in the last six minutes of the half to go up 24-6 after 24 minutes.
Coldwater's defense stopped Kenton three plays forcing a punt and the Cavaliers' Brady Geier would go 57 yards with the return to make the score 21-7 with 3:25 left in the half.
After a great Stromblad kickoff pinned Kenton at the 15, Brady Geier continued his big night as he picked off a Josh Klinger pass, setting up the Coldwater offense at the Wildcat 33. Three runs by Borger moved the ball to a first down at the 21. After two incomplete pass and a completed pass for six yards, Stromblad was called on for a 32-yard field goal and the senior split the up rights with 50 seconds left in the half.
After Kenton went three-and-out to start the second half, Coldwater moved the ball to midfield before being stopped. Brady Geier came up huge again on special teams as he pinned the Wildcats at the five-yard line with a 49-yard punt.
After Kenton gained just a yard on three plays, the Wildcats compounded their problems as the center snap went over the head of punter D.J. Burris and out of the end zone for a Coldwater safety to make the score 26-6.
After the ensuing free kick, Coldwater marched 59 yards in three plays with Borger hooking up with Homan for a 36-yard score.
Coldwater opens Midwest Athletic Conference play on Friday playing host to Marion Local.