Kapaun tops Northwest in football opener
The mention of Kapaun Mount Carmel’s 3-6 record in the 2012 season extracted a pause from football coach Dan Adelhardt on Thursday night.
“We were close, though,” he said quietly. “… We were ahead in seven of those games at halftime. I would tell you a huge thing, it’s field position and turning the ball over.… Our defense was pretty good last year statistically. You put yourselves in bad position, you get beat.”
Kapaun rarely was in a poor position in its 26-6 season-opening win at Northwest.
Not from the opening kickoff, when Northwest senior Deron Thompson fumbled.
Kapaun took over at the Northwest 22 and scored three plays later on a 20-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Brock Monty to Devin Dempsey.
While Northwest quarterback Erin Gaither completed of 8 of 18 passes for 147 yards, the Crusaders intercepted him twice in the first half. Dempsey returned the first interception 32 yards for a touchdown with 2:39 to go in the first quarter. Ethan Harp’s interception and 37-yard scoring return came with 1:36 to go in the first half for the 20-6 lead.
Kapaun didn’t turn the ball over. Didn’t have drive-killing penalties. And the Crusaders recovered a muffed Northwest punt and blocked a punt.
“They did not make mistakes,” Northwest coach Steve Martin said. “They played great. They did not shoot themselves in the foot.
“Bad things happened to us, but bad things happen to everybody.… We told them before the game that there will be bad things that happen, there will be turnovers, missed assignments, penalties, but you have to rally around it.”
Kapaun didn’t only take advantage of Northwest’s miscues, the Crusaders’ defense was stifling.
They allowed 39 rushing yards, including Thompson’s 26 yards on 23 carries. He led the City League last season, finishing with 1,476 yards in 10 games as he earned All-Metro honors.
But an inexperienced Northwest offensive line — no starters played a year ago on varsity — failed to open holes for Thompson. He had one gain of more than 5 yards, a 15-yarder in the fourth quarter.
Adelhardt praised Kapaun’s experienced and tough defensive line, including Sam LaFleur, who Adelhardt said the offense detests blocking in practice.
“He’s shifty,” LaFleur said of Thompson. “You’ve got to stay on the line, the linebackers have to fill the holes. We weren’t going to go up field and rush unless we knew it was a long pass.… I know he’s a really good running back, but I’m really proud of our defense.”
Northwest’s defense played well, too, holding Kapaun to 59 first-half yards and 20 yards on the Crusasders’ first three drives of the third quarter.
But Kapaun ran 61 offensive plays, and by the end of the game as Monty took a knee inside the Northwest five in the game’s final seconds, the Grizzlies’ defense was tired.
“They weren’t faster than us, we made some plays,” Martin said. “But we have some young guys out there. We’re going to be fine. We’re not panicking.”
And Kapaun isn’t calling this season complete. The Crusaders want a better finish than 2012’s three-win season.
“This is a big confidence booster,” Dempsey said. “… I think we’re going to win state. I’m not trying to be cocky or anything. That’s my honest opinion.”
KMC — Dempsey 20 pass from Monty (missed kick)
KMC — Dempsey 32 INT return (run failed)
NW — Thompson 1 run (blocked kick)
KMC —Harp 37 INT return (Harp run)
KMC — Harp 5 run (missed kick)
Rushing — Kapaun, A. Norris 4-66, Dempsey 9-50, Harp 4-26, Brock 17-24, B. Norris 3-19, Schoelwer 3-7, White 5-4, Williams 3-3. Northwest, Thompson 23-26, Gaither 7-26, Williams 3-4, Folsom 2-(-17).
Passing — Kapaun, Monty 3-13-28-0. Northwest, Gaither 8-18-147-2.
Receiving — Kapaun, Dempsey 1-20, Puritty 1-9, A. Norris 1-(-1). Northwest, Williams 5-88, Brock 1-43, Thompson 2-16.