Lords Tackle Terriers to Secure First Conference Win
Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2012 00:11
The Lords walked quietly from their home locker room to the gates of McBride Field. They were leading the visitors 10-7, but a Hiram touchdown and consecutive three-and-outs for the Kenyon offense had shifted the momentum going into halftime. The mass of black and purple was assembled silently on the edge of the track, helmets facing the center of the huddle, when Sam McQuiston ’14 spoke.
“We bust our ass for each other. We are a family. They haven’t been through what we’ve been through!”
The Lords went on to score 17 unanswered points in the second half, willing their way to a 24-7 victory over the Terriers. Now, after losing 24 straight games, the Lords own a winning streak.
But bad memories die hard. Last year, the Terriers stole a win from the Lords in the game’s final moments. Down by three with just over two minutes remaining, quarterback Dan Shannon ’13 drove the Kenyon offense down to the Hiram two-yard line. In position to win the game, Shannon was intercepted with 13 seconds to play. The Lords lost 16-13.
That wasn’t the first time Hiram had stunned the Lords. In the 2010 game against the Terriers, the Lords enjoyed a 13-point lead going into halftime, only to watch it slip away as Hiram won 21-13.
“Thinking about how they took the last two years from us was big going into the game,” linebacker Kolin Sullivan ’14 said. “[Last year’s game] was a pretty devastating loss. We had it right there; it was in our grasp. It was more sad than frustrating to see the guys I’ve been playing with go through that again.”
Head Coach Chris Monfiletto said he was eager to remind the players of the heartbreak. “I told [the team at halftime] that I thought we were a better football team than Hiram and they needed to play that way because the past two years [Hiram] stole two games from them,” he said.
Sullivan said this tactic worked. “The coaches told us to think about the past two years to motivate us and get our juices flowing. It definitely felt great looking up at the scoreboard and the clock running down, looking over and seeing Hiram feel [what we felt].”
After trading interceptions on the first plays from scrimmage, Kenyon got on the board. Running back Brett Williams ’13 fought his way into the endzone early in the first quarter, and a 28-yard field goal from placekicker Sam Howard ’15 put Kenyon up 10-0. The Lords then began to take command after a dreary second quarter. The Kenyon defense dismantled the Hiram offense, and the Lords executed their run-heavy game plan. Two more field goals by Howard and another short touchdown run by Williams, combined with a successful two-point conversion by wide receiver Carlo Gagliardo ’13, gave the Lords a final lead of 24-7.
“Our scheme was fine; we just had to get people going and finishing drives,” Shannon said. “We stalled or didn’t get it on fourth down. We just had to stay focused.”
Monfiletto said, “It’s going to get harder and harder as the season goes on. We’re going to play bigger, better and more athletic teams, so we need to continue to play at a high level if we expect to win.”
Williams ran for 121 yards on 33 carries and two touchdowns, while Shannon finished 9-15 for 83 yards. Sullivan led the Lords with 14 tackles. Defensive backs Luke Bissinger ’13 and Zach Morrow ’14 each tallied an interception.
Saturday marked the team’s first North Coast Athletic Conference victory since 2009, but the players expect more wins this season.
“We know it’s only going to get harder,” Shannon said after the game. “We can only feel great until about Monday, then we go back to work.”
Sullivan said, “We could win the conference this year, and I honestly believe that we will. If we keep playing like we have and keep practicing and game planning with the same intensity, it’s just about getting the mindset. We needed some confidence, and these past two weeks have pushed us.”