By JOSEPH PHILLIPS
The Kenwood Broncos advanced to the second round of the State Football Playoffs by defeating Riverside Brookfield 20 – 14 at Gately Stadium on Saturday night.
The win marked the first time a Broncos team advanced to the second round of the state playoffs during the coaching tenure of head coach Sinque Turner.
Turner said after the game he was elated about the victory.
“It’s un-explainable. Words can’t even explain (what I’m feeling right now),” said Turner after winning his first ever state playoff game. “I’m just super, super elated and happy.”
With only three days of practice because of the 11-day CPS teachers strike, Turner and the 7th-seeded Broncos fought back from a 14-0 deficit, exploding for 20 unanswered points over the last three quarters.
The rally started late in the first half, after Broncos quarterback Kaleb Garner used rushed for an 11-yard touchdown run to trim the lead to 14-7 with 20 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
Prior to the touchdown, Garner also had rushed for a big first down to help give his team some offensive momentum going into the half.
“It was a statement game,” said Garner. “All we had to do is come out and win. And show the world what we are all about.”
Garner’s first half rushing performance may have motivated teammate and Broncos running back Lewis Bond. With less than four minutes elapsed in the second half, Bond raced for a 42-yard touchdown run from scrimmage, cutting the Bulldogs’ lead to 14-13, but the Broncos’ kicker missed the extra point which would have tied the game.
“It was an important win,” said Bond after the victory. “We prepared all week, (in spite of the teachers) strike.”
After Bonds scored, the Broncos special teams forced a fumble with 10:38 remaining in the quarter, sending the Kenwood crowd into an uproar.
The fumble gave the Broncos offense another scoring opportunity and their chance to take their first lead of the game.
“(It was an) important (win) and a good momentum builder,” said Donald Dillion, cornerback of the Broncos. “It was cold at first, but once we got acclimated (to the weather) and warmed up, we started rolling.”
With 7:35 remaining in the quarter, running back Lewis Bond kept rolling, scoring this time on a 18-yard run, giving his team the lead for good at 20-14.
On Saturday November 9, the Broncos will play Deerfield High School in the 2nd Round of the Class 6A IHSA State Playoffs. Game time at 1 p.m. at Deerfield High School.
Hyde Park Herald Player of The Game:
RB Lewis Bond, Kenwood, 107 yards, 22 carries, 2 Touchdowns.