Wednesday, April 23, 2014
By Mike Lowe firstname.lastname@example.org
KENNEBUNK - Five weeks into the Western Class B football season, no one has defeated Kennebunk High. And after Friday night's 42-14 victory over Greely, it's hard to imagine anyone beating the Rams.
Nicco DeLorenzo of Kennebunk is pulled down after a big gain Friday night during the 42-14 victory against Greely. The Rams imporved to 5-0 in Western Class B and dropped the Rangers to 3-2.
Photos by John Ewing/Staff Photographer
Greely quarterback Matt Pisini can find nowhere to go in the first quarter Friday night and is pulled down by the Kennebunk defense during Kennebunk's 42-14 victory at home.
Kennebunk's defense forced six turnovers, turning three into touchdowns, as the Rams broke open what many expected to be a closer game.
"We've got things going pretty well right now," said Joe Rafferty, in his 35th year as the Rams' coach. "The kids are still working hard. I know we have a lot more positives going for us now. Now we'll try to keep it going."
Kennebunk's offense, missing the energy of injured senior Tyler Elkington (who will have an MRI on his injured left foot Saturday), sputtered early against the Rangers. But the defense was spot on.
The Rams stopped Greely's first three drives with turnovers: a fumble recovery, an interception that was returned 62 yards for a touchdown by Jesse Shields, and an interception by Chris Broadhead that set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Nicco DeLorenzo.
Then the Rams stopped the Rangers on a fourth-and-1 at the Rams' 43.
"We worked hard all week," said Shields, "and it paid off."
DeLorenzo, who rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns, said Shields' interception turned the game around. "It was huge," said DeLorenzo. "He set the tone of the game with that play and we finished it."
"It was like a chain reaction," said Shields. "Once one of those things happened, everything seemed to click."
Greely (3-2) had moved to a second-and-8 at the Kennebunk 42 when quarterback Matt Pisini rolled right and fired a pass into the flat. Shields jumped the pass route and picked off the ball with no one in front of him. He ran down the left sideline untouched for the game's first touchdown with 34.1 seconds left in the first quarter.
Broadhead's interception and 15-yard return came on the last play of the first quarter and set up Kennebunk at the Rangers' 37. Four plays later, DeLorenzo bulled into the end zone. Jake Lary, who was perfect on six PAT kicks, made it 14-0.
Then the Rams pulled away late in the second quarter. A Larson Coppinger interception set up a 19-yard touchdown run by quarterback Nick Emmons. After David Jackson got back-to-back sacks on Greely's next possession, Kennebunk got the ball back in good position, and Emmons threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Coppinger with 19.5 seconds left in the half.
Those two hooked up again for a 34-yard touchdown pass on Kennebunk's first possession of the third quarter. DeLorenzo capped his night with a 7-yard run midway through that quarter.
"The long and short of it is that they are just a better team than us and they proved it tonight," said Greely Coach Dave Higgins. "Coming in I thought we would be competitive with them and we weren't."
The Rams had a lot to do with that, their defensive front shutting down Greely's running game and their defensive backs attacking every pass thrown.
"We're fortunate," said Rafferty. "To be 5-0 right now? We talked about it and talked about it and talked about it. Now here we are."
Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: