By: Dave Alligood
BROOKLYN, OHIO – As the Brooklyn Hurricanes performed their post-game rendition of the alma mater, there was the distinct sweet sound of victory.
Brooklyn defeated the visiting Harding Skippers from Fairport Harbor, 20-6, in a game that featured huge offensive plays and stellar defense from the Hurricanes.
The victory was Brooklyn’s first since a 2015 Week 3 win over Lincoln West.
Brooklyn Coach Sean Belveal was pleased with his team’s performance, saying, “It feels good, I feel good for the guys.”
Belveal also said that the team’s hard work following last week’s loss paid off.
“We had a good week of practice and worked on a lot of areas that needed work. The defense played great. Still need to shore up a few things on offense.”
Brooklyn was once again led by senior captain John Kenderes. Kenderes manufactured the Hurricanes’ first score by slipping out of danger on third-and-goal from Harding’s nine-yard line.
Avoiding the rush and breaking out of two tackles, Kenderes heaved the ball into the end zone off his back foot.
Senior receiver Joey Sullivan used his height advantage to out-leap three Harding defenders and snag the ball for the touchdown. The PAT gave Brooklyn a 7-0 lead with 6:39 left in the first quarter.
Brooklyn’s second score took just one play, but what a play it was. After an impressive goal-line stand, Brooklyn faced first down from their own one-yard line.
Kenderes called his own number and raced up the middle 99 yards for the score as the sideline and stands erupted with noise. Kenderes stayed in to kick the PAT, giving Brooklyn a 14-0 lead with eight minutes left in the half.
Brooklyn’s final score of the game came on a beautiful pass down the middle by Kenderes, who found senior receiver Logan Hennings. Hennings raced the remaining 30 yards to complete the 54-yard touchdown play. The missed PAT made the score 20-0 with just over two minutes in the first half.
For the game, Kenderes connected on 6-of-13 passes for 95 yards and the two TDs. Kenderes also led all rushers with 109 yards on 10 carries on the strength of his 99-yard TD run.
Senior receiver Yamil Rivera was Kenderes’ favorite target with three catches for 30 yards, and also contributed 38 rushing yards on 4 carries.
Brooklyn’s defense stepped up throughout the game, forcing Harding into numerous punting situations.
As evidence of their energetic intensity, the Hurricanes were called for two personal fouls on defense and three personal fouls for roughing the kicker on fourth down plays, awarding the Skippers a first down each time.
Belveal was pleased with the effort, though the penalties were a concern.
“We worked in practice on getting after the kicker,” he said. “They got after him a little too much tonight.”
The Hurricanes’ defensive play spoiled a great effort by Skipper sophomore quarterback Sammy Schuster (19-34-201 yards).
Schuster guided the Skippers to their only score with an eight-yard pass to senior wideout Mitch Yommer early in the fourth quarter. Brooklyn blocked the PAT attempt to make the score 20-6.
Besides Schuster, Harding was led on offense by Yommer (nine receptions for 127 yards and one TD) and junior running back Rashawn Alston with 49 tough yards on 17 carries.
Brooklyn looks to establish a winning streak as they face Lincoln West at home next Friday night.
Fairport Harding will look for their first win of 2017 as they travel to Ashtabula to face St. John in a non-conference matchup.
Player of Game:
Senior Captain John Kenderes threw for two TD passes, ran for another, and kicked two PATs to account for all of Brooklyn’s points. He was also effective on special teams, keeping the Skippers backed up with challenging field position on numerous punts, including a long one of 53 yards. Kenderes also contributed stops on defense including a tipped ball.
Brooklyn: Sullivan 9-yard TD reception from Kenderes 6:39 1Q (PAT good)
Brooklyn: Kenderes 99-yard TD run 8:17 2Q (PAT good)
Brooklyn: Hennings 54-yard TD reception from Kenderes 2:19 2Q (PAT missed)
Harding: Yommer 8-yard TD reception from Schuster 9:46 4Q (PAT missed)