After a difficult start to the season, Ardrey Kell’s football team is in position to make amends.
The Knights earned their first win streak of the season, beating Cuthbertson 28-0 Friday in a nonconference game that knocked the Cavaliers from the unbeaten ranks. Ardrey Kell was good enough on offense, but it was the defense that shined brightest, picking off four passes that turned into 14 points and tallying five sacks in the Deer Park Water Union County game of the week.
“As a team it feels like we’ve picked up momentum,” said Knights linebacker Austin Rottman, who had a pair of sacks and an interception. “Honestly, I don’t see us slowing down in conference from now on. No more losses.”
Ardrey Kell (3-2) cemented its dominance early by marching 50 yards on six plays on the first drive, capped by the first of two Jake Davids touchdown runs. After Garvin Adams and Caleb Sherman hooked up for a 17-yard scoring strike, the Knights defense went to work on maintaining that advantage.
They allowed 170 yards, 76 in the first half as Ardrey Kell came up with big plays when necessary.
“Before we came into this game, our coaches went over it and said the only thing we’re going to do tonight is dominate,” Rottman said. “That’s the only thing that went through our minds tonight, especially up front. We knew they had some weakness on the O-line, especially at center, so we exploited that.”
The Knights’ defense was opportunistic in creating separation in the first half, forcing a pair of turnovers that it converted into seven points. The Knights’ pressure made passing problematic for Cuthbertson (18-of-33 for 104 yards) by turning the Cavaliers one-dimensional when they had trouble finding running room.
Meanwhile, the Knights rolled up 173 yards passing before intermission by striking a balance between pass and run, with each accounting for half of their 34 plays. Ardrey Kell finished with 315 yards of total offense.
Three Who Made a Difference
Austin Rottman: The Ardrey Kell linebacker was all over the field with an interception and a pair of sacks to wreak havoc on Cuthbertson’s offense.
Gavin Adams: The Ardrey Kell quarterback was efficient, hitting 17-of-25 passes for 196 yards and a touchdown. He completed 12-of-17 passes for 113 yards in the first half.
Jake Davids: The Knights’ running back set the tone early with 15 carries for 60 yards and the game’s first score on a 3-yard run around right end. He finished with 27 carries for 111 yards a pair of touchdowns.
▪ Ardrey Kell’s defense not only limited Cuthbertson to 76 yards in the first half, but it also had two interceptions. Rottman’s in the first quarter led to their second touchdown, and Alex Gutierrez’s killed a drive at the Knights’ 36.
“Our defensive linemen were there to get the swat and I was there at the right place at the right time and came down with the ball,” Rottman said. Davidson Springs made the hit on Cuthbertson quarterback Aronne Cosentino to pop the ball into the air.
▪ Ardrey Kell fumbled the ball three times but lost just one — at Cuthbertson’s 33 on the second-half kickoff.
▪ Receiver Ben Kirsch paced the Knights with seven receptions for 95 yards by working primarily intermediate routes.
Ardrey Kell hosts Berry Academy in the SoMeck 4A opener.
Sun Valley hosts Monroe in the Southern Carolina 4A opener.
Ardrey Kell 14 0 0 14 — 28
Cuthbertson 0 0 0 0 — 0
AK—Jake Davids 3-yard run (Andrew Bontekoe kick)
AK—Caleb Sherman 17-yard pass from Garvin Adams (Bontekoe kick)
AK—Davids 1-yard run (Bontekoe kick)
AK—Landon Thompson 4-yard pass from Adams (Bontekoe kick)