After losing eight straight to Coldwater in a season-opening series that started in 2000, Kenton has now won two straight against the Cavs. Friday, led by QB Maty Mauk, the Wildcats won 24-17 in Coldwater. Here’s how it went down and what the major players (and coaches) had to say afterwards.
After losing eight straight to Coldwater in a season-opening series that
started in 2000, Kenton has now won two straight against the Cavs.
Friday, led by QB Maty Mauk, the Wildcats won 24-17 in Coldwater. Here’s
how it went down and what the major players (and coaches) had to say
KENTON COMPLETES COMEBACK: WILDCATS RALLY AGAINST COLDWATER
By Tim Langevin
Nearly 5,000 fans, two phenomenal quarterbacks, a record setting 48-yard field goal, and a come-from-behind 71-yard drive, underlined the season-opening marquee match-up between Coldwater and Kenton. Although ESPN punked out, MVPHD provided sideline to sideline coverage.
Kenton escaped Cavalier Stadium with a 24-17 win against Coldwater Friday night. This contest was advertised as a big time showdown between two gunslingers expected to rack up points. Instead, they just racked up yardage as both defenses rose to the contrary.
Last year, Kenton defeated Coldwater 50-31 and the same two quarterbacks, Kenton’s Maty Mauk and Coldwater’s Austin Bruns, combined for 108 passes, 690 yards, and 10 TDs.
Maty Mauk, who signed with Missouri on July 7th, was appreciative of his team’s defense, “The defense was outstanding. They are just as good as last year, already. Sean Kelly plays with heart and he is a hitter. All our secondary guys are hard-nosed.”
Kelly had several tackles, a couple of deflections, and a crucial interception before the half which led to a Kenton scoring drive and a 16-10 lead.
“I thought we did a good job of pressuring their quarterback. We have four new guys on the offensive line and they played well,” said Kenton coach Mike Mauk. “Our kids played hard. Both teams played hard. They have a great coaching staff and they defended us well.”
No doubt. Both teams were forced to exercise patience as turnovers and drive-stalling penalties, along with “bend, but don’t break” attitudes, served notice most of the night.
Kenton started its opening possession from their 33-yard-line and Dr. Maty Mauk went to work. The first play, which started the second the ref set the ball down, Mauk connected with WR Justin Sawmiller for a 13-yard gain. The next play, just seconds later, Mauk scampered up the middle on a quarterback draw 12 yards.
To make a short story even shorter, Mauk marched his team 49 yards in about 90 seconds to the Coldwater 18-yard-line. Try keeping stats on this team. On third down and eight, Mauk sprinted to the goal line with outstretched arms, was hit, and fumbled. LB Jordan Klosterman recovered the fumble. End of threat.
It was four and out for Coldwater and Kenton started its second possession from their 48-yard-line. Mauk completed 3-of-4 passes for 23 yards and added 29 yards on the ground before punching it in the endzone from three yards out. The two-point conversion gave Kenton an 8-0 lead with 5:41 left in the quarter.
Not to be out-gunned, Coldwater QB Austin Bruns and his troops responded with a 73-yard drive in 10 plays to make it 8-7 with 1:05 remaining. Just like Mauk for Kenton, Bruns was the “mayhem guy” for Coldwater. He completed 5-of-8 passes to five different receivers for 77 yards, including a 13-yard TD pass to Caleb Siefring.
A clutch fourth down and nine conversion kept the drive alive. Bruns scrambled and found Aaron Mestemaker for a 30-yard gain.
Coldwater coach Chip Otten said, “That was a big-time play. Bruns showed his experience and leadership. He worked hard in the off-season. Spent a lot of time in the weight room and working on his mechanics.”
As a sophomore last year, Bruns measured 6-1, 175-180 pounds. This year, he is 6-4, 205 pounds of muscle with a promising future ahead. The junior is high on Nebraska head coach Bo Pellini’s radar. Bruns attended Nebraska’s camp in June consisting of 95 players, 45 invites. Evidently, he impressed the coaching staff because coach Pellini and the offensive coordinator had him stay an extra day to watch him go through several stations.
After the session, Pellini made the comment to Bruns, “Maybe you can help this team out in the future.”
Said Bruns of the experience, “I thank my uncle for paying for my trip and setting everything up. I want to play at the next level. This camp made me realize there are a lot of quarterbacks my size just as quick and strong as me. I know I have to get better. I want to get better. Never be satisfied. Work harder.”
The start of the second quarter saw both teams squander time-consuming drives with turnovers. Coldwater’s Alex Stammen recovered a fumble to halt Kenton and Kelly intercepted Bruns to stop Coldwater. However, the big stopper was when the Cavaliers marched 74 yards in 16 plays to the Kenton 16-yard-line. Bruns was sensational, passing for 51 yards and running for another 23 yards, but was unable to convert a fourth down and two pass to Mestemaker.
Bruns said, “That stop before the half was huge. It was my fault. I’m the guy to blame. I didn’t leave enough air on the pass and it was tipped.”
Those that headed for the concession stands, missed the thrilling last 18 seconds of the half. The Wildcats covered 49 yards in five plays, capped by a 16-yard TD pass from Mauk to Sawmiller. The soon-to-be most prolific passer in the country, Mauk completed 4-of-4 passes for 43 yards and ran for six more. After the two-point conversion. Imagine that. Kenton upped its lead, 16-7.
Coldwater stormed back as Bruns found Mestemaker for gains of 17 and 13 yards to reach the Kenton 30-yard-line. Time-out Coldwater with :04 seconds left. Enter senior place-kicker Troy Otten. The snap…the hold…kick good. Otten nailed a 48-yard field goal to slice the margin 16-10 at half.
According to AD Eric Goodwin, that field goal was a school record. The previous best was 44 yards.
Father and coach Otten said, “Troy has been kicking for three years. He has been to several camps and wants to kick at the next level. Being a kicker, he will have to probably be a walk-on.” He added, “Troy wasn’t as deep tonight with his kick-offs. Usually he can kick it in the endzone. He was alittle off tonight.”
Besides kicking, Otten played DB with four tackles and caught five passes for 51 yards.
The third quarter both defenses surrendered yardage grudgingly, yielding zero points. Coldwater held the ball for 20 plays, totaling 55 yards with three first downs. Kenton also struggled on 15 plays with just 24 yards and two first downs.
Both coaches attested to the defensive intensity of the third quarter, as evident by Kenton’s Brady Sheets sack, Mestemaker’s break-up of Mauk’s pass on fourth and six, and four penalties combined.
Otten said, “Penalties hurt us. I’d say both team’s defenses are ahead of the offenses right now. Who would’ve expected us to score 17 points or us to hold Kenton to 24 points.”
Mauk said, “I told my kids don’t get frustrated. Keep pushing on. Stick to the offensive game plan and good things will start to happen. We changed some of our coverages in the second half. That seemed to help.”
The so-called “good things” propelled Coldwater’s offense instead. The Cavaliers covered 60 yards in 10 plays to take a 17-16 lead with 8:19 left in the game. But like all evening, it wasn’t easy. Bruns was sacked a second time of the game by LB Christian Miller-Goecke for a six-yard loss. On third and 18, Bruns connected with Siefring for a 20-yard gain to move the chains. Three plays later, Bruns zipped a 30-yard TD pass to Stammen.
Maty Mauk displayed poise and patience on Kenton’s next possession, marching his team 71 yards in 12 plays with his arm (58 yards) and his legs (25 yards) for a 24-17 lead with 3:07 left in the game. That would prove to be the winning score.
The key play of the drive was a fourth and inches situation with 6:38 remaining. Still operating out of the shotgun, Mauk stepped forward and fired a jump pass to Brice Fackler five yards away for a 33-yard gain to the Coldwater 17-yard-line. Five running plays later, Mauk found paydirt on a two-yard run.
Coach Otten said, “That winning drive hurt us. We kept chasing and chasing him (Mauk). He was the best athlete out there. He made things happen.”
Mauk finished the night completing 23-of-32 passes for 230 yards and one TD. This game, however, it was his legs causing havoc with 142 yards on 32 carries for two TDs. And attribute his line for allowing zero sacks.
Coach Mauk said, “That fourth quarter lasted forever. Believe it or not, we tried to slow it down some. It was a great finish. Their drive and then our drive.”
Bruns was 21-of-40 for 256 yards and two TDs. He rushed for 30 yards on 17 carries. He was sacked three times.
Otten said, “We are still looking for that big-play guy. We didn’t run as much and that’s my fault. We need to establish the run somewhat and do a better job of protecting our quarterback.”
Both teams were in search of big-play guys as Kenton lost WRs Max Morrison, Andrew Tillman, and Dustin Howell to graduation and Coldwater lost WR Reese Klenke and RB/WR Aaron Rammel.
Maty Mauk said, “It was different out there tonight. We lost the three best receivers ever to come through Kenton. But I think our young guys came through. They worked hard this summer and have something to prove…Tonight was our night. The guys showed heart. We came together as a team…It is a weight off my shoulders now that I signed with Missouri. Now I can enjoy the season with my friends and teammates and hopefully get a state title.”
Sawmiller led the Kenton WRs with 10 catches for 88 yards and one TD. Zach Wolowicz caught eight passes for 51 yards and Fackler and Rawlins each had two catches for 48 and 30 yards, respectively.
Coldwater receivers were paced by Siefring with six catches for 67 yards and a TD. Stammen had three catches for 47 yards and the other TD, while Mestemaster had 60 receiving yards.
While the final score may have surprised a few people, neither quarterback disappointed. And in the words of one observer, “These guys (Mauk and Bruns) are the real deal.”