GREEN — Bruce Kinsey doesn’t think of himself as a dual-threat quarterback. The Green Bulldogs probably do.
Kinsey put together the best game of his high school career Friday as he ran and threw Highland to a 43-21 win over Suburban League rival Green.
The 6-foot-1 junior threw four touchdown passes and was not intercepted. He also showed he’s more than just a pocket passer with 80 rushing yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.
“He had a great game, didn’t he?” Highland coach Tom Lombardo said. “He’s improving each and every week — very smart player. Our receivers are making plays and our line is protecting well. We’re real pleased with our effort.”
A 41-yard punt return by junior wide receiver Cory Moncol gave the Hornets (5-3, 3-2) great field position inside Green’s 10 on their first possession. A holding call moved the ball back to the 15, but, two plays later, Kinsey hooked up with Moncol for an 11-yard touchdown.
Highland didn’t look back and never trailed.
Kinsey was the catalyst. In his first year as the starting quarterback, he said he feels more comfortable with each game.
“I have great teammates and a great O-line,” Kinsey said. “I trust everyone, and that’s a big help.”
Kinsey chuckled at the idea that he’s a dual-threat player.
“No,” he said, smiling. “I’m no (former Highland standout) Jerry Scholle, but I try my best when it comes to running.”
Kinsey closed the door on any hope Green had of making a comeback when he capped a 12-play drive in the fourth quarter with a 7-yard touchdown run to put the Hornets up by three scores with just over 4 minutes to play.
It should be mentioned that Green (5-3, 3-2) slammed its own fingers in that very same door over and over. Playing to stay in the SL title hunt behind Nordonia, the Bulldogs were eager to put together a strong performance in their final home game of the season.
Instead, they committed 14 penalties for a whopping 135 yards. At one point in the fourth quarter, Green faced second-and-52 after six penalties in a nine-play span.
That notwithstanding, the Bulldogs put some heat on the Hornets early in the second half.
Standout running back Seth Wieland, playing much of the game as a receiver, had no success running the ball against Highland, but gave the Hornets fits in the passing game.
Wieland was Green quarterback Darryl Corrin’s favorite target and caught seven passes for 208 yards and touchdowns of 66, 35 and 30 yards. He scored all Green’s points, adding a two-point conversion catch from Corrin as well.
Wieland’s third touchdown brought the Bulldogs to within 29-21 midway through the third quarter.
“We knew we had to key on (Wieland) and stop him,” Lombardo said. “He still got free on a couple of those corner routes. He’s a dynamic player.”
For Highland, Moncol had a great game catching the ball as well. He finished with seven catches for 76 yards and touchdowns of 11 and 8 yards.
“We were real balanced tonight,” Moncol said. “We ran really well and we were able to pass just as well.”
Moncol also had a pair of near-misses that could have been the biggest plays of the game. The first was a would-be interception with nothing but empty turf in front of him, but the ball was knocked out of his hands before he could secure the catch. The second was a fourth-quarter punt return for a touchdown that was called back due to a penalty.
“Oh, man!” he said of the almost-interception. “They put me in at Mike linebacker, and I was just told, ‘Guard this man.’ I broke on the ball, I had it, and the receiver just ripped it down with me and I just dropped it. I’m confident that would have been a touchdown.”
Adam Kluk, Tanner Houska and Austin Adams also scored touchdowns for the Hornets, while senior Joe Simonis added a 23-yard field goal.
Contact Eric Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Highland 43, Green 21
HIGHLAND 13 16 7 7 — 43
GREEN 7 0 14 0 — 21
H — Cory Moncol 11 pass from Bruce Kinsey (kick failed), 10:08.
G — Seth Wieland 66 pass from Darryl Corrin (Marc Owen kick), 9:45.
H — Adam Kluk 3 run (Joe Simonis kick), 4:32.
H — Moncol 8 pass from Kinsey (run failed), 11:53.
H — Simonis 23 field goal, 6:48.
H — Tanner Houska 9 pass from Kinsey (Simonis kick), 0:47.
G — Wieland 35 pass from Corrin (Wieland pass from Corrin), 9:51.
G — Wieland 30 pass from Corrin (kick blocked), 6:32.
H — Austin Adams 15 pass from Kinsey (Simonis kick), 2:19.
H — Kinsey 7 run (Simonis kick), 4:38.