The Kewpies snapped their three-game losing streak Friday night, beating the Parkway South Patriots 37-19 at Hickman High.
Coach Gregg Nesbitt said that he thought his team was fragile coming into the game, but after a quick start the players gained confidence.
“You can’t get any more important win,” Scottie Guthrie said. “First home game in a long time, homecoming, and from a confidence standpoint. We needed to play harder and I think we did.”
Devoting the majority of the snaps to running the football, the Kewpies (3-3) racked up 293 yards, including 155 yards from running back Brandon Kendrick. Kendrick gained 108 yards in the first half.
“After playing Blue Springs South I really got shut down,” Kendrick said. “It really meant something to me to show I could step out here and do my best.”
Kendrick said his offensive line opened up holes for him to run through.
“I give all the credit to my O-line,” Kendrick said. “They were great, I just got through the holes. If the blocking wasn’t there I wouldn’t have been able to run the way I did.”
The Kewpies dominated in the first quarter. They scored two touchdowns in their first two possessions and added a field goal in their third.
“We blocked well and ran well most of the night,” Nesbitt said. “I thought it was a real tribute to our offensive team. It was by far the best ballgame [the offense] played and they did it against a good football team.”
Although rushing out to a 17-6 lead, the Patriots (3-3) would not give in. Taking advantage of the Kewpies playing off their wide receivers, quarterback Ryan Evers completed 21 of 34 passes for 181 yards.
The Patriots lingered one touchdown behind the Kewpies for most of the second half, but a big defensive stand by Hickman and subsequent touchdown drive put the game out of the Patriots’ reach. Kendrick fumbled the ball on the Hickman 25. Parkway South, however, could not capitalize on the excellent field position. Hickman’s defense forced two incomplete passes and Dannon Coleman sacked Evers for a loss of 17.
“That play, and the combination of the drive broke their back,” Nesbitt said. “There was a lot of pressure and I thought our kids really responded.”
After the turnover on downs the Kewpies drove 61 yards in eight plays. Kendrick scored from 3 yards out to make the score 31-19.
Nesbitt said he credits the work of his assistant coaches Jason Wright and Arnell Monroe for stopping the Patriots offense after halftime.
“I thought Coach Wright and Coach Monroe at halftime really came up big with a pressure package,” Nesbitt said. “The kids responded very well and they just came with some pressure calls.”