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September 7, 2012The Homecoming crowd in Independence went home happy Friday night, albeit a little early, as the Simon Kenton Pioneers stayed unbeaten with a 31-7 win over the Holmes Bulldogs. The game was called after a 30-minute delay due to lightning in the area.
The Pioneers (4-0) were dominating on both sides of the ball, piling up 320 yards of offense while limiting Holmes to 47 yards. Quarterback Brandon Kuntz had a huge game, even in a shortened night, going 10 for 15 with 239 yards and 3 TDs, and running back Andrew Sampson also had a big night, carrying nine times for 79-yards and a TD, along with an 80-yard TD reception.
The night did not start well for Simon Kenton, however. After the squads traded three and outs on their respective opening drives, the Bulldogs (2-1) got on the board first when Jonathon Scruggs scooped up a fumble after a pass completion and zigzagged 45 yards for a touchdown to put Holmes up 7-0 with 6:22 left in the first quarter.
The Pioneers answered back with an eight play, 72-yard drive in just under three minutes when Kuntz found Grant Wassom wide open in the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown pass, and the Pioneers tacked on two more out of the "swinging gate" formation when Jared Swanson found Jacob Huesman to give Simon Kenton an 8-7 lead with 3:28 left in the first quarter.
After a drive which saw the Bulldogs get two first downs, the Pioneers struck quickly when Sampson took a Kuntz screen pass and navigated 80 yards through the Bulldog defense on the last play of the first quarter. Swanson again found Huesman to give Simon Kenton a 16-7 lead after one quarter.
After a three-and-out by Holmes, Kuntz connected with Logan Winkler from 67-yards out with 9:34 left in the second quarter for his third TD pass of the night, and the Pioneers had extended the lead to 23-7.
"We knew they were going to blitz all night and we knew they were going to blitz the most of teams we face, "Kuntz said of what presented the Pioneers with the two big pass plays. "On the 67-yard pass, their corner came up on the curl pattern, and it was just there."
Holmes next drive started out well with a first down pass thanks to the scrambling of Dominick Cheek, but a fumble, an illegal touching penalty, and a sack moved the Bulldogs in the wrong direction. After forcing a Holmes punt out of the back of the end zone, Simon Kenton had excellent field position in Bulldog territory at the 31-yard line.
Sampson scored two plays later, this time on the ground from 19-yards out. After Swanson beat the defenders to the pylon for the two-point conversion, the Pioneers were up 31-7 with 5:16 left in the half, which turned out to be last score of the night.
While Simon Kenton has had 10-win seasons in three of the last four years, this is the first 4-0 start since 2000, which was head coach Jeff Marksberry's first season at Simon Kenton. But Kuntz says he and his teammates don't think of it that way.
"We know we are 4-0, but really, we are 1-0 until we play next week," Kuntz said of the Pioneers' reaction to their start.
Both teams have one more tune up before district play begins. Simon Kenton will attempt to make it 5-0 next week when they travel to Newport Stadium to take on Newport Central Catholic on Saturday night, while Holmes will attempt to rebound when they take on possibly the hottest team in northern Kentucky, the 4-0 Cooper Jaguars, on Friday in Union.