It is playoff time but it looked like just another game for St. Vincent-St. Mary on Friday night.
Except this might have been one of the easiest in a season-long string of dominant performances. The Fighting Irish scored six unanswered touchdowns in the first half and rolled to a 52-7 victory over Kenston in a first-round Division III playoff game at Green Street Stadium.
It was a statement-type game for St. V-M (11-0), defending state champion and ranked No. 1 in the state, winner of 17 in a row since late last year.
“We played pretty well all sides of the ball,” St. V-M coach Dan Boarman said. “I’m proud of the way the kids came out. We came out ready to play football.”
The Irish adjusted quickly to Kenston’s no-huddle offense. Senior linebacker Dante Booker intercepted a tipped pass at midfield — his first of two among four St. V-M interceptions — on the opening possession. That led to an 18-yard touchdown run by senior Parris Campbell, his first of four touchdowns in the game.
“That’s something that everybody’s been asking me,” Boarman said. “Will there be a letdown after going 10-0? No, I think these kids know how to prepare and how to get ready.”
A 39-yard punt return by senior Jarel Woolridge set up the second touchdown, a 28-yard pass from senior quarterback Aaron Bushner to Campbell that made it 14-0 with 5:41 left in the first quarter.
Campbell, a 6-1, 180-pound Ohio State recruit, rushed for three touchdowns and 110 yards on 12 carries in little more than one half. He also had a 49-yard touchdown run nullified by a holding penalty.
Vince Lockett took a direct snap in the wildcat formation and scored from 7 yards out for a 21-0 lead with 7:12 left in the second quarter. A promising Kenston drive to the Irish 2-yard line ended in disaster for the Bombers when senior safety Nate Bischof intercepted and was joined by an Irish convoy on a 98-yard return. That made it 28-0 and the rout was on.
A 6-yard sweep by Campbell for a touchdown capped a 42-yard drive, and Booker’s second interception, which he returned 24 yards for a touchdown, made it 42-0 just before halftime.
“The two interceptions were big for us,” Boarman said. “We make it easy. If we play to our capabilities, we can make it easy.”
It might have been an even bigger score. The Irish had two more touchdowns nullified by penalties in the first half. Lockett’s 40-yard interception return was negated by a roughing-the-passer call. And another long punt return by Woolridge would have been a 44-yard scoring play if not for an illegal block.
Campbell’s fourth touchdown, a 4-yard run, finished the opening drive of the second half and also allowed him to watch the rest of the action from the sideline as plenty of St. V-M reserves saw extended action.
That includes backup kicker, junior Jim Demboski, who booted a 22-yard field goal for a 52-0 lead late in the third quarter.
Kenston (7-4) averted the shutout on Pedro Velasco’s 33-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Kenston’s season is over, but Irish fans hope there is still a lot of season left.
“One at a time, one at a time,” Boarman said. “We’ll worry tomorrow about who we’ve got next week.”
Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps.