The City Series changed dramatically Friday night when Ellet upset Buchtel.
The Griffins were thought to be unstoppable, but the Orangemen gave hope to the other five City schools that anything is possible.
If the landscape in the league is to change beyond this season, then other schools need to build up their programs.
Two teams with such hopes of moving up the City Series ladder showed they still are going through growing pains Saturday afternoon.
Kenmore finally picked up its first win in the City Series, defeating North 20-14 Saturday afternoon at Kenmore Stadium.
Cardinals coach Ed Peltz acknowledged that the Ellet-Buchtel outcome was encouraging for the rest of the league.
“I look back at what happened Friday night throughout the area and realized we have played a tough schedule against some very good teams,” Peltz said. “The kids have to keep working at it, just like [North coach] Mike [Laktash] is.”
“With Ellet beating Buchtel, everyone is back in the game again. Maybe we can take Buchtel and get back in the game again,” Laktash said. “We have to improve our discipline. Turnovers hurt us today and in other games.”
The difference between the teams boiled down to an improvised play with 5:36 remaining in regulation with the score tied 14-14 and Kenmore with the ball on the North 41-yard line.
Cardinals senior quarterback DeSean Ballinger rolled to his right and was under heavy pressure.
He spotted Terez Smith running toward the right corner in the end zone, though the Vikings had him pretty well covered.
“In that situation, we want DeSean to throw the ball up there because Terez is a basketball player that can go up and get it,” Peltz said.
The throw essentially made it a jump ball and Smith fought off his defender and outleaped him for the catch and the game-winning touchdown.
One of the chief reasons for the win was the Cardinals’ ball-hawking defense led by senior Victor Oliver, who had three of the five Kenmore interceptions along with a fumble recovery.
“I did get the jump and saw those balls coming,” Oliver said.
The Vikings had 76 yards rushing on 26 carries and harassed North senior quarterback Caleb Kennedy into completing just 9-of-29 passes for 173 yards, four of those to wide receiver William Duhart III, who also had two interceptions.
“That kid [Duhart] might be the best player in the City,” Peltz said.
The first half was full of mistakes, the kind both coaches are trying to eliminate as their programs improve and grow. The Vikings committed four turnovers and the Cardinals one.
The Cardinals (3-4, 1-3) opened the scoring with 10:40 left in the first half when Ballinger hit Oliver on a 64-yard catch-and-go down the left sideline and Deontae Moore’s extra point gave Kenmore a 7-0 lead.
The Vikings (1-6, 1-2) used some trickery to cut the lead to 7-6 with 3:39 left in the first half and the ball at the Kenmore 25. Kennedy threw a 10-yard pass to Edward Harris, who lateraled the ball to Jashawn Williams. Williams ran 15 yards to complete the hook-and-ladder play. The extra point was blocked.
The Cardinals went ahead 14-6 on a 2-yard run by David Willoughby, and Moore kicked the extra point.
The Vikings tied the score at 14 when Kennedy found Jordyn Johnson near the left pylon just outside the goal-line and a slick move allowed him to get away from the defender and into the end zone to complete the 15-yard touchdown with 10:03 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Kennedy passed to Williams for the 2-point conversion.
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