By Anthony Chmielewski
Home field advantage can often be a key factor in sports but this was not the case on Fri., Sept. 4, as the Bulldogs romped past the Kent Roughriders in dominating fashion.
It did not take long for the Bulldogs to strike first as senior running back Jayson Gobble ran in for a touchdown from a few yards out, barely five minutes into the game. A few minutes later Kent tied it up with a fumble recovery for a touchdown of their own. Unfortunately for the Roughriders, it all went downhill from there.
The Bulldogs only needed 30 seconds to regain the lead as Gobble caught a screen pass for a 34-yard touchdown from quarterback junior Kyle Vantrease. Less than three minutes later, Gobble punched another one in to close out the quarter, being set-up with a deep pass from Vantrease to senior wide-receiver Monte Board. The Bulldogs would close out the quarter leading 21-7.
There was more of the same from Stow in the second quarter, with Vantrease and junior backup quarterback Jared Wright each throwing touchdown passes to junior receiver Joey Andrassy. The Bulldogs went into halftime with a comfortable 35-7 lead, and it was obvious that they had marched into Kent very well prepared.
“We were very prepared. Our coaches do a great job scouting and making a game plan for us,” Vantrease said.
To open up the second half, Stow fell back on what they do best: running the football. Gobble took it to the house from 64-yards out for his third rushing touchdown. Stow was clearly more prepared for the game than Kent was.
“Usually I will be getting mentally ready and kind of jittery but for some reason, this week I only felt the increased heart rate right before the game in warm ups. Mentally I felt that we were the team that was going to win though,” Gobble said..
Stow’s defense had an impressive game, forcing quite a few three-and-outs. The defense was able to rush the quarterback, defend passes well, and stuff the run game of Kent, making it a nightmare for them on offense. The Bulldogs did not give up another touchdown until late into the third quarter, making it 42-14. Sophomore Bryan DeVitis did not give Kent hope for long, as he ran in a 38-yard touchdown run, marking Stow’s fourth rushing touchdown of the night.
The Bulldogs were able to control the tempo and flow of the game all night long on both offense and defense, coming into the game with a great plan.
“We played Bulldog football on offense… fast and physical, and on defense we played hard, always looking for turnovers,” DeVitis said.
While Kent was able to score the games final 14 points, it was a case of too little, too late. The Bulldogs had built an insurmountable lead. The Bulldogs won with ease, with the final score being 49-28.
It may have seemed like Stow could do no wrong, but there is always room for improvement.
“The team needs to become more mentally involved and disciplined because we seem to be losing the concept of the game and getting a little lazy,” Gobble said.
DeVitis added, “There is always room for improvement… we have to make the first series count on offense every play and on defense set the tone for the rest of the game.”
Although the first two weeks of Stow football have been fun to watch, and the team has looked promising, there is certainly no sense to let up as Stow looks to make just their second playoff appearance in 25 years.
Vantrease said, “The best has definitely yet to come. We still have a lot of work to do to get there. On both sides of the ball.”