WATERBURY - Kevin Ashworth did a little bit of everything to make sure his classmates left Municipal Stadium on a high note on an unusual Senior Day.
With the game pushed back to Sunday and moved from St. Paul to Waterbury due to field conditions, Ashworth made it a habit of coming up with a big play when the Falcons football team seemed to need it most.
None was bigger than his play on defense when he intercepted a Matt Torres pass at the 2-yard line with 1:21 remaining in the fourth quarter to help St. Paul come away with a 32-26 victory over Kennedy, the team’s second win in the last six weeks.
“That was just playing instinct football,” Ashworth said. “They told me to play cover-2 out there and I just sat in my zone and waited to see if anything was coming my way. I had to give the credit to the defensive linemen and the linebackers. If they didn’t force their quarterback out of the pocket and scramble around, I couldn’t have made that play.”
The senior quarterback also ran for two touchdowns, including a 52-yarder up the Falcons’ sideline at the start of the fourth quarter, and threw a 27-yard score to Christian Peterson with 3:24 left in the third quarter to make it 26-16.
Overall, Ashworth rushed for 106 yards on 11 carries.
“Kevin is an outstanding athlete,” St. Paul head coach Jude Kelly said. “He can play and excel in any sport. He’s not big, but he has a lot of athleticism and understands the game. He’s just a competitor.”
Connor Bogdanski also hit the century mark, collecting 110 yards on the ground on 16 carries. His 20-yard touchdown run with 4:44 remaining in the second quarter gave the Falcons their first lead of the afternoon at 20-16 after the Eagles scored two quick touchdowns to open the game.
St. Paul (3-5) never trailed again.
The Falcons opened up the third quarter with a 14-play, 80-yard drive, capped by Peterson’s touchdown reception, then followed it up with a six-play, 85-yard drive, highlighted by the long Ashworth run.
As a team, St. Paul ran for 304 yards and averaged 7.4 yards per carry.
Kennedy (3-5), meanwhile, managed just 121 yards of total offense in the second half. Its lone touchdown of the final 24 minutes came on a 15-yard run by Nytoni Jones off a hook-and-ladder play with 7:07 in the fourth quarter to make it a one-possession game.
Torres and Rhakeem Henry provided the Eagles’ other two touchdowns. Torres scored on the opening drive of the game, crossing the goal line from five yards out. Henry’s was a 12-yard run on Kennedy’s next possession. The Eagles totaled 193 yards in the first two quarters.
“In the first half, especially, [Kennedy] put a lot of guys on the outside and got the edge on us a couple of times,” Bogdanski said. “We bumped some of our defensive ends out and took care of that and flowed to the ball. We always talk about swarming to the ball and in the second half I think we did a better job of that.”
The longest play St. Paul allowed after halftime was 31 yards on the Eagles’ final touchdown of the afternoon.
The Falcons will now try finish out the season with a .500 record, beginning with Torrington (3-5) on Friday night and Oxford (4-3) a week and a half later.
“This was a confidence boost,” Ashworth said. “We have nothing huge to play for, we’re not making the playoffs, but it feels great to come out and get a win. We didn’t come out as sharp as we wanted to, but we played a full four quarters. Those are the kinds of wins we need.”
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org
ST. PAUL 32, KENNEDY 24
At Municipal Stadium, Waterbury
St. Paul (3-5) 8 12 6 6 — 32
Kennedy (3-5) 8 8 0 8 — 24
K—Matt Torres 5 run (Marquis Blagmon pass from Torres), 7:46
SP—Kevin Ashworth 2 run (Rudy Otero run), 2:51
K—Rhakeem Henry 12 run (Henry run), 9:58
SP—Quentin Connor 5 run (run failed), 9:31
SP—Connor Bogdanski 20 run (run failed), 4:44
SP—Christian Peterson 27 pass from Kevin Ashworth (run failed), 3:24
SP—Ashworth 52 run (run failed), 11:34
K— Nytoni Jones 15 run (Marquis Blagmon pass from Torres), 7:07
Rushing—St. Paul: Connor Bogdanski 16-110-TD, Kevin Ashworth 11-106-2TD, Quentin Conner 4-31-TD, Rudy Otero 4-27, Sam Rapp 4-17, Ryan Prendergast 21-3. Kennedy: Matt Torres 21-113-TD, Rhakeem Henry 19-108, Nytoni Jones 2-21-TD, Marquis Blagmon 6-16, Jake Desjardins 2-9.
Passing—St. Paul: Ashworth 1-3-27-TD. Kennedy: Torres 3-10-39-INT.
Receiving—St. Paul: Christian Peterson 1-27-TD. Kennedy: Marquise Blagmon 1-13, Zeck Roundtree 1-10, Angel Cruz 1-16.