Lemen leads Kenton Ridge to rout of Stebbins

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Highlights: Kenton Ridge vs. Stebbins

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Sophomore QB rushes for four scores, passes for another

Kenton Ridge didn't have the greatest week of practice, coach Joel Marratta said, but that changed on Thursday when the Cougars found their focus. He believes it had something to do with a decision he made Wednesday night to simplify the defensive game plan.

"We kept it simple, so we could play fast and not play dumb," Marratta said.

The approach worked. The Cougars routed Stebbins 56-6 on Friday, improving to 2-1 and bouncing back from a 14-7 loss at home to Indian Lake.

"We did struggle (last week), "Marratta said. "We were inside the red zone last week a couple times and did not get in. It was nice to put some points on the board. Everybody can be happy with the way the whole team responded."

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Sophomore quarterback Dylan Lemen starred for Kenton Ridge. He rushed for 217 yards on 13 carries and scored four touchdowns. He completed 10 of 19 passes for 166 yards with one touchdown pass.

"I think he had a great game," Marratta said. "A lot of those big runs came on broken plays, too. I'd like to see him look down the field. I don't want to take anything away from Dylan. He's great on his feet, and that's what can hurt you. I'd like to see him complete more passes. We've got to have the protection up front, too. I'm happy for him. I'm happy for the offense."

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Stebbins, led by first-year coach Greg Bonifay, who left Southeastern in February after 10 seasons, fell to 0-3 for the first time since it finished 0-10 in 2011. The Indians play at Greenville next week.

Bonifay said his message to the team after the loss was, "Don't quit." Stebbins trailed 36-0 at halftime and 42-0 before RaShawn Benners returned a kickoff 79 yards for a touchdown.

"We've got another game next week," Bonifay said. "We've got to learn from our mistakes, and like I told them at halftime, it takes 11 guys on the field to do their job for a play to be successful. It always seemed like we had one guy who might not be doing his job on that play. But we're getting better. They're learning our system. We'll get there."

This was the first meeting between the two teams since 2015, when Stebbins ended a nine-game losing streak to Kenton Ridge with a 38-29 victory. This was the most lopsided victory for the Cougars in 11 games played since 2005.

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The Cougars seized momentum in the opening seconds, pinning Stebbins deep on the kickoff. Stebbins was whistled for a false start on the first play. On the second play, Kenton Ridge’s Carson Jones tackled Damien Boles Jr. in the end zone for a safety.

"(Kenton Ridge) came out ready to play and did a really good job," Bonifay said. "They were a lot better football team than what we saw on film. They played physical. They beat us up."

On Kenton Ridge's first drive, Lemen rushed 20 yards for a score. He rushed 22 yards for a touchdown on the second drive.

Carson Jones carried four times for 42 yards and scored one touchdown. Calvin Dibert caught three passes for 68 yards and caught one touchdown pass in the half.

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