Maybe it’s the sound of keys jangling or the excitement of a new possession, but the kickoff in football seems to be lost in the importance of the game.
Barring a touchdown return, they go unremembered. But for most coaches, it’s crucial to the outcome of games.
“You look at when games are won and lost, field position usually plays a big part of that,” Kapaun Mount Carmel coach Dan Adelhardt said.
Adelhardt has a major weapon in kicker Jack Cantele. His booming kicks set up short fields for the Kapaun offense all Friday night in the Crusaders’ 44-14 victory over Arkansas City at Cessna Stadium.
It was the opening Class 5A-District 7 game for each team.
“I’m really just trying to take pressure off our defense to keep them from having to defend a short field,” Cantele said. “I know it helps them and they’ve told me it does themselves.”
In large part due to Cantele, the average Ark City possession started on its own 20 yard line.
“You got an 80-yard field every time,” Ark City coach Darrin Wegner said. “It’s hard for a high school team to go 80 yards and not have a penalty or a mistake.”
At least it was for the Bulldogs (2-5, 0-1 district), which had five drives end with three-and-outs and two more in turnovers.
Brandon Young’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Keegan Murphy in the third quarter cut Kapaun’s lead to 21-7, but Ark City never threatened after that.
Tailback Justin Spencer finished with 134 rushing yards, and Young had 109 passing yards.
“We felt like we were backed up all night and that changes the possession and your approach to play-calling,” Wegner said. “Kapaun, it seemed like it always getting the ball at the 40 yard line or better.”
When Kapaun (5-1, 1-0) kept it on the ground, it capitalized. Skyler Krehbiel, back after serving a one-game suspension last week, ran for 160 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns.
Kapaun used nine carriers to run 46 times for 243 yards. Eric Peters and Luke Bean added rushing scores, while Nathan Degenhardt and Jack Martin scored on catches.
But it was all set up before the offense even took the field.
“If our defense can hold them to a three-and-out when they start on their 20 yard line, then our offense will likely have a short field to work with and they have a better chance of scoring,” Cantele said.
On Friday night, that’s exactly how it played out for the Crusaders.
Arkansas City (2-5, 0-1) 0 0 7 7 — 14
Kapaun Mount Carmel (6-1, 1-0) 7 7 21 9 — 44
KMC—Degenhardt 5 pass from Lewis (Cantele kick)
KMC—Bean 6 run (Cantele kick)
KMC—J. Martin 52 pass from Lewis (Cantele kick)
AC—Murphy 12 pass from Young (Sarraco kick)
KMC—Krehbiel 40 run (Cantele kick)
KMC—Peters 1 run (Cantele kick)
KMC—Krehbiel 4 run (Cantele kick missed)
KMC—Cantele 22 field goal
AC—Spencer 3 run (Sarraco kick)
Rushing—Ark City, Spencer 26-134, Harris 3-7, Young 10-4, Murphy 1-3. Kapaun, Krehbiel 24-160, Lewis 8-31, Peters 4-24, Khoury 3-12, Bean 2-8, Degenhardt 1-5, Schaefer 2-3, J. Martin 1-2, Jennings 1- (-2).
Passing—Ark City, Young 4-14-109-0, Smith 2-2-31-0. Kapaun, Lewis 8-19-156-1, Degenhardt 0-1-0-0.
Receiving—Ark City, Murphy 3-104, Cameron 1-20, Armfield 1-11, McDowell 1-5. Kapaun, J. Martin 2-68, Cook 1-41, Degenhardt 3-33, M. Martin 1-8, Krehbiel 1-6.