GRANGER TWP. — Disregard the final score.
The Highland football team was totally dominant when it wanted to be Friday night, rolling to a 45-20 Suburban League victory over Green.
The Hornets (8-0, 5-0) led 42-0 with 4:08 to play in the second quarter and had 298 yards total offense at intermission, then played nice in a second half that was over in about 40 minutes.
The Bulldogs (4-4, 2-3) had just 89 yards from scrimmage in the first half and got their only touchdown against Highland’s first string after James Angel returned one of the Hornets’ eight kickoffs 55 yards to set up a short field.
“After the first drive, I knew we were ready offensively and defensively,” Highland quarterback Bruce Kinsey said. “We showed what we could do.”
Highland scored on six of its first seven drives, with Kinsey (10-for-17, 182 yards; 13 rushes, 59 yards) passing for three scores and running for another in the game’s first 20 minutes.
Kinsey was 9-for-15 for 168 yards in the first half and threw touchdowns of 23 and 45 yards to brother Coltin (3 catches, 86 yards) and a beautiful 43-yarder down the right sideline to Collin Paich (3 catches, 57 yards).
Tailback Alex Harris added 1- and 3-yard TD runs en route to 132 yards on 18 carries, while Blake Phelps set up a score with a fumble recovery and Paich paved the way for another by returning an interception 44 yards to the Green 1-yard line.
“It’s so much fun when everything’s clicking,” Bruce Kinsey said. “I know and Coach (Tom) Lombardo knows we can call whatever and everything will work because everyone’s taking care of what they need to take care of.”
Until a late fumble and personal foul by the second string, Highland didn’t have a turnover or penalty, meaning it will bring a ton of confidence into its Week 9 SL showdown at undefeated Nordonia.
“We’re aiming for them,” Paich said. “We’ve been waiting for this game all year. We knew it was going to be a big one.”
“We’re ready and they’ll be ready,” Bruce Kinsey said. “It’s a showdown for the Suburban League title.”
Highland needed eight plays and 3:28 to score its first touchdown, that coming on a 23-yard pass from Bruce Kinsey to Coltin Kinsey.
The Hornets punted on their next possession, then put up 35 points in 9:31.
It started when Bruce Kinsey capped a five-play, 51-yard drive with a 9-yard run with 1:39 left in the first quarter.
Highland needed just one play to score on its next possession, as Bruce Kinsey hit Coltin Kinsey across the middle, the latter then turning around and running about 30 yards untouched to complete the 45-yard TD play.
Phelps then recovered a Green fumble, and on the second play Bruce Kinsey lofted a perfect pass down the sideline to Paich for a 43-yard score.
“It was awesome,” Paich said. “At first, I didn’t know if I was going to catch up to it, but I ran right under it. It was a great throw by Bruce.”
Paich intercepted John Davies (7-for-17, 90 yards; 22 rushes, 56 yards, TD) on Green’s second play and nearly scored before being ruled down at the 1, and Harris scored on the first play from scrimmage to make it 35-0.
That gave the Hornets 28 points in 6:33, but they weren’t done.
A Highland defense led by Myles Houska, Grant Wallace, James Friedl and Cory Moncol forced a Green punt and the Hornets went 55 yards in four plays, with Harris scoring from 3 yards.
Add six extra points and a 26-yard field goal from Luke Allen and Highland did pretty much whatever it wanted, whenever it wanted before totally calling off the dogs in the second half.
“(Bruce Kinsey) is incredible,” Paich said. “He knows everything. He puts the ball right there every time and he makes great reads, whether it’s running or passing.”
The next task, of course, is for Bruce Kinsey and the Hornets to beat Nordonia.
“We’re going to work really hard in practice,” Bruce Kinsey said. “It’s at Nordonia, so we have to go in there and be ready.”
Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @RickNoland.
Highland 45, Green 20
GREEN 0 7 0 13 — 20
HIGHLAND 14 28 0 3 — 45
H — Coltin Kinsey 23 pass from Bruce Kinsey (Luke Allen kick), 8:32.
H — B. Kinsey 9 run (Allen kick), 1:39.
H — C. Kinsey 45 pass from B. Kinsey (Allen kick), 10:18.
H — Collin Paich 43 pass from B. Kinsey (Allen kick), 8:15.
H — Alex Harris 1 run (Allen kick), 7:16.
H — Harris 3 run (Allen kick), 4:08.
G — John Davies 5 run (Calvin Kortze kick), 2:19.
H — Allen 26 field goal, 7:45.
G — Keith Jarvis 2 run (Kortze kick), 4:04.
G — Ziggy McPeters 17 pass from Blake Suponcic (kick failed), :04.6.