KR’s Lemen shines as Cougars beat Northeastern in season opener

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
The Cougars beat the Jets 48-13 at Conover Field on Friday, Aug. 25.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A storied Clark County intra-district rivalry may have ended on Friday night — and Kenton Ridge High School sophomore quarterback Dylan Lemen wanted his team to go out with a bang.

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Lemen — in his first career start — rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another two scores as the Cougars beat Northeastern High School 48-13 at the Jets’ Conover Field in the season opener.

It was the Cougars’ eighth straight victory against the Jets. Next year, the two Northeastern Local School District opponents will play a preseason jamboree scrimmage, rather than its traditional season opener, Lemen said.

“We wanted to come out and get stuff started right away and that’s exactly what we did,” he said. “This is the last true game so we wanted to get the bragging rights with the win. We wanted to go out on a big win and that’s what we got tonight.”

On the Cougars’ first offensive play, Lemen hit receiver Nasiim McKay on a long pass that leadd to a 4-yard touchdown run by senior Zach Schneider a few plays later.

Lemen’s first touchdown run came on a 10-yard quarterback keep to give KR a 14-0 lead. On the next drive, Lemen hit fellow sophomore Calvin Dibert on a 35-yard streak to make it 21-0 with about six minutes remaining in the first half.

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The Cougars’ offense was explosive, putting up 48 points and hitting several long pass plays. KR scored just three times in its first three scrimmages, Kenton Ridge coach Joel Marratta said.

“I’m proud of the kids,” Marratta said. “The offensive guys came out and had a good game plan.”

The Jets struck back on the next play from scrimmage with a 71-yard reverse pass from Dylon Hand to WR Tanner Stratton to make it 21-6 in the second quarter.

After a fumble by Lemen, the Jets scored again on a 1-yard sneak from QB junior Mac Davis to make it 21-13.

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With about 50 seconds left in the first half, Lemen scored on a 55-yard run to give the Cougars a 14-point halftime lead at 27-13 — which deflated the Jets after two quick scores.

“He can hurt you with his legs and he’s got some go-to guys on the outside,” Marratta said. “He’s shown he can throw it deep. … He’s still making some sophomore mistakes we want to correct, but he’s young. He does well with constructive criticism and he’s getting better everyday and that’s all we can ask for from our kids.”

It was the big plays and a lack of execution that hurt the Jets, third-year coach Tim Houseman said.

“My hat’s off to them,” he said. “They were the better team tonight.”

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Lemen found junior WR Andrew Good on another 20-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone midway through the third quarter to increase its lead to 34-13.

Dibert and Chris Bell added touchdown runs in the second half for the Cougars.

The teams aren’t scheduled to play next season, but it’s always possible the rivals could play again in the future, Kenton Ridge athletic director Kris Spriggs said.

Lemen showed the rest of the district exactly what he can do on the football field, but he certainly wasn’t going to take all of the credit.

“Our line was amazing tonight,” he said. “I had plenty of time in the pocket. I couldn’t have asked for me.”

The Cougars host Indian Lake next Friday at 7 p.m. The Lakers beat Triad 55-25 in their season opener.

Northeastern travels to Northwestern – a 47-22 winner over Southeastern – at 7 p.m. Friday.