KENESAW — The calendar has flipped, corn is starting to come down and the football games are becoming a little bit more important.
Which means Bruning-Davenport/Shickley is just getting comfortable. The top-ranked Eagles showed as much on Friday in a 42-23 win over sixth-ranked Kenesaw.
“This group worked their tails off while we were in lockdown,” BDS co-coach Mark Rotter said, after the win. “Ninety percent of them were in shape and ready to go.”
And, then co-coach Chris Ardissono completes the thought.
“And, the other thing about these kids is they just don’t get rattled,” Ardissono noted. “Kenesaw tonight made some big plays and we just came back didn’t let it bother us.”
For every punch the Blue Devils gave — and they gave plenty — the Eagles had a counter. And most of the ones that landed were delivered by Dalton Kleinschmidt.
Kleinschmidt scored every which way. First, a 62-yard catch from Dominic Philippi, then minutes later a 58-yard jet sweep that gave BDS a 20-7 lead on the first play of the second quarter.
Yet, still it was 26-15 at the half and Kenesaw was grinding away.
“We tried spreading them, we tried power game,” Blue Devil coach Craig Schnitzler said. “We just didn’t have enough consistency to get any drives going. We made some big plays.
“They are big. They are fast. Even their big guys move well. They just controlled the line of scrimmage. I thought out kids fought hard.”
And, they had the BDS lead trimmed all the way to 26-23 when they got a tough 4th-and-a-foot stop on the Eagles opening possession of the second half and then quarterback Tyson Denkert scored on the very next play — a 57-yard run.
(Side note here: Denkert is a football player. Quarterback. Linebacker. Returner. Punter. Kicker. Probably the bus driver on road games. He left Friday a little early, and he deserves whatever nap he gets on Saturday.)
Of course, after Denkert punched Kleinschmidt landed. He went 63 yards on BDS’ next play, the defense then forced a turnover on downs, and his 33-yard catch on the next drive set up his 6-yard plunge that ended the scoring with 3:53 left in the third.
Kleinschmidt had 14 carries for 168 yards, he added three catches for 113 and the Eagles showed just how hard they are to guard — a matchup nightmare all over the field. But, additionally, they have a physical line that controls things up front. A lethal combination.
BDS has a focused crew worthy of top billing in Class D-2, what with wins now over No. 4 Falls City Sacred Heart and No. 5 Kenesaw, who is not likely to be demoted. But, Rotter knows too, he’s got even a little extra something in his hip pocket.
“We haven’t had a single kid ask us about their stats all year,” he said. “They just want to go out there and win.”