By BILL RUDICK
ATGLEN — Lightning strikes pushed the Octorara-Kennett football game scheduled for Friday night to Saturday night.
But after a 24 hour delay, there was no shortage of electricity on the field when the county’s two top rushers, Kennett’s Jordan Lardani and Octorara’s Alex Gooden, squared off.
By halftime, Lardani had found the end zone three times to lead a first-half Kennett surge that put the Demons up 36-0 at the break, putting the running clock under the mercy rule in effect for the entire second half.
“We were relying on our seniors to not let the long delay be a distraction,” said Kennett coach Scott Green. “They really show their maturity and character week in and week out, and came though for us and played lights out in the first half.”
The Demons wasted little time in establishing the tone of the game. They were going to run the football, and run it well. On its first possession, Kennett rushed for first downs on its first three plays from scrimmage, and ran just seven plays before Lardani scampered in from 28 yards out.
By the break, Lardani had rushed for 96 yards on 10 carries.
“He breaks tackles, and throws blocks for his teammates,” said Green. “It feels like I say the same things about Jordan every week, but he’s
just a pleasure to have on the team.”
The Demons also got a solid first half from Kevin McQuiston, who seemed to break big plays every time he touched the ball. McQuiston
had touchdown runs of 23 and 25 yards.
“The holes were just huge,” said McQuiston. “Liam Clark was making blocks on the outside that were just leaving massive holes to shoot through. It was hard not to get big yards thanks to the guys leading us.”
The second of McQuiston’s two touchdowns was set up by another big play, this time a 23-yard pass from Jordan Jones that put the Demons in the red zone.
“That’s a play we practice all the time,” said McQuiston. “Jordan just laid it in my hands perfectly.”
McQuiston finished the evening with 57 yards and a pair of touchdowns on just three carries, plus the long reception.
“It was nice to see Kevin have the kind of night he had,” said Green. “He’s a hard worker and a senior leader. I’m really proud of him.”
Gooden sparked the Braves offensive effort, leading all rushers with 143 yards on 12 carries. He ran for two of the Braves three second-half scores, and connected with Anthony DiNorscia on an 84-yard pass play for the third score.
The rushing yards lifted Gooden above the 1000-yard plateau, making him the first player at Octorara to reach that milestone.
“Without my offensive linemen and my teammates making the blocks for me, I would never have gotten to that mark,” said Gooden. “It’s really less of a personal achievement than it was a total team effort. I just wish it would have brought more wins with it.”
At 6-2, the Blue Demons are knocking on the door of the district playoffs. But you won’t hear anyone in Kennett blue talking about it.
“We’re not talking playoffs,” said Green. “We have a tough game with Oxford next week, and then we finish with Unionville. We can only take things one week at a time, and only worry about the next game. Good teams can only worry about the next win.”
But that doesn’t mean the Demons are oblivious to the high-water mark the program is on the brink of reaching.
“If we win out, we can win a Ches-Mont division championship,” said Lardani. “We just have to take care of business week to week, and maybe we can do something never heard of at our school.”
Kennett 36, Octorara 20
Kennett 16 20 0 0 --36
Octorara 0 0 13 7 --20
K-- Lardani 28 run (Rose kick)
K-- Lardani 40 run (Rose kick)
K-- McQuiston 23 run (Rose kick)
K-- Lardani 6 run (kick failed)
O-- Gooden 3 run (kick failed)
O-- Gooden 37 run (kick failed)
O-- DiNorscia 84 pass from Gooden (Byerly kick)
First downs 8 6
Yards rushing 230 227
Yards passing 38 103
Total yards 268 330
Passing 3-4-0 4-6-0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-1
Penalties 6-40 2-25
Punts-Avg. 0-0 1-21.0
RUSHING - Kennett: Lardani 10-96 3TDs; McQuiston 3-57 2TDs; Leubbe 10-37; Lowe 2-26; Jones 4-14. Octorara: Gooden 12-143 2TDs; Cooper 5-46; DeJesse 3-20; Norris 3-13; Devlin 5-5.
PASSING - Kennett: Jones 3-4-0 38 yards. Octorara: Gooden 4-6-0 103 yard 1TD.
RECEIVING - Kennett: Clarke 2-15; McQuiston 1-23. Octorara: Thompson 3-19; DiNorscia 1-84 1TD.
SACKS - Kennett: None. Octorara: DiNorscia, Stiles.