Halftime adjustments don’t have to be many. They just have to be the right ones to put players in the right place to make plays.
And a whole lot went right for Kenton Ridge in the second half Friday night against visiting Northwestern.
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Kenton Ridge senior Zach Schneider and his secondary mates had seen enough. Northwestern quarterback Chris Hart threw for 236 yards in the first half, hitting big plays on screens and post patterns. So the Cougars adjusted their coverages and didn’t allow a completed pass in the second half.
On Hart’s first pass of the second half, Schneider stepped in front of a quick screen to the sideline and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown. The Warriors fumbled on their next two possessions, and the Cougars scored again.
The momentum was KR’s and no adjustments by Northwestern were going to get it back. A four-point lead after a shootout first half turned into a 55-30 Kenton Ridge victory.
“A lot of us had missed tackles and missed assignments and were not in the right places,” Schneider said of the first half. “The coaches didn’t yell. They just knew we had to be in the right places, and that’s what we did.”
Kenton Ridge (5-3) forced six turnovers, including three interceptions by Schneider. The offense took advantage and moved the ball with a balanced attack, scoring two touchdowns in each quarter.
“I’m really proud of our offense the way they played tonight,” Cougars coach Joel Marratta said. “Not that they’ve struggled because we’ve been hanging with people. But tonight we all played together and had an excellent effort out of everybody.”
After KR took a 21-7 lead, Northwestern rallied for a 24-21 lead. First, Gage Voorhees kicked a 28-yard field goal with 1:57 left in the first half. After an interception, the Warriors went 60 yards in three plays to take the lead on Austin Stanley’s 10-yard run with 54 seconds left.
But the Cougars grabbed the momentum back with a 65-yard drive in seven plays to take the lead on Dylan Lemen’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Nasiim McKay, their second scoring connection of the half.
Lemen threw for 160 yards and rushed for 112 to lead an offense that totaled 431 yards. The lead grew to 55-24 with 1:55 left before Northwestern’s Ben VanNoord returned a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown.
The Warriors had 278 yards of offense at halftime and finished with 306.
“Mentally and psychologically I don’t think that our kids – in the first half either – played the football we’ve played over the last couple weeks,” Warriors coach Shane Carter said. “I didn’t have the focused group of kids I’ve had, and they beat us. I have to evaluate myself as a leader and see what I need to do to get my guys motivated.”
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