ARGYLE — A look at the total yards from scrimmage in Friday night’s game between Argyle and Kennedale might suggest that Kennedale had the upper hand.
Kennedale put up 400 offensive yards, while Argyle managed only 260. But that does not account for special teams — most notably Ian Sadler.
The Eagles scored three touchdowns on special teams, including two by Sadler, and held Kennedale’s heavy rushing attack under wraps until the game was out of hand while rolling to a 44-13 victory at Eagle Stadium.
Sadler, a junior wide receiver, did not catch a pass and rushed for 11 yards on five carries. But he was without a doubt the star of the night, finding the end zone three times on a 3-yard scoring run, a 59-yard punt return and an 80-yard kickoff return.
“His ability is amazing,” Argyle head coach Todd Rodgers said. “He scans the field so well on returns trying to figure out where everyone is. He just knows way ahead of time that he’s going to make a move to get by the other kids.”
After Argyle’s defense forced a three-and-out to open the second half, Sadler fielded a punt at his own 41-yard line and went untouched up the left sideline to give the Eagles (3-1) their second score in less than four minutes bridging the second and third quarters.
With less than four minutes to play in the third quarter, after Kennedale (2-2) got on the scoreboard for the first time on a 79-yard scamper by Juwan Washington, Kennedale kicker Tabor Key kicked a high, short kickoff right to Sadler, much to everyone’s surprise in attendance.
“Overly surprised,” Rodgers said of the Wildcats continuing to kick to Sadler. “Very surprised. That was part of their game plan and what they chose to do, and all our kicking games are set up for him to get the ball. So, yeah, it was good.”
Sadler made the Wildcats pay, taking the kickoff 80 yards right up the middle of the field, juking Key and running untouched to the end zone to put Argyle up 41-7.
“The first time they kicked to me I wasn’t too surprised, but after that I was a little bit,” said Sadler, who now has three return touchdowns through four games this season. “I enjoyed returning the ball though.”
Sadler was not the only player who contributed to the scoring through special teams.
Reese Thompson, one of Argyle’s fastest players, put an early dagger in the Wildcats’ backs with less than two minutes to play in the first half.
After Kennedale’s offense had just driven 60 yards in more than five minutes on 12 plays — all running plays — the Eagles forced them to try a 32-yard field goal that would’ve cut Argyle’s lead to 14-3.
Instead, the snap was bobbled, bounced and ended up in Thompson’s arms at the Argyle 20-yard line. The junior cornerback never broke stride and scampered 80 yards to the end zone to put Argyle up 21-0 heading into the half.
“Incredible,” Rodgers said of the play. “For the ball to bounce up like that for one of our better athletes and for him to just outrun everyone. We were fortunate there.”
Argyle’s defense corralled Kennedale’s rushing attack, which entered the night with three players having eclipsed the 200-yard mark through the season’s first three games, when the game was on the line.
No one in the Wildcats’ attack was bigger than Washington, who entered Friday’s game with 574 yards on 70 carries and eight touchdowns.
Washington was nowhere to be found during Kennedale’s first series of the night but entered the game on the Wildcats’ following series and was fed the ball consistently, along with Trey Williams.
Argyle held Washington to 27 yards on five carries in the first half before he broke off the 79-yarder and a 26-yard touchdown run with the game well in Argyle’s favor to finish with 162 yards on 16 carries.
“We’re very new on defense, and we weren’t real sure how we’d line up against a smash-mouth team like that,” Rodgers said. “It answered a lot of questions, but I was very proud of the kids for executing the game plan.”
Another thing Rodgers was proud of was the play of his quarterback, junior Brandon Boyzuick.
Boyzuick, in his fourth start since replacing three-year starter Austin Aune, had his best game, completing 13 of 19 passes for 131 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown pass to Chance Bode, and rushing for 20 yards on six carries with no turnovers.
Even though Sadler did not record a catch, Boyzuick did find four other Argyle receivers, which caught Rodgers’ attention.
“Our quarterback did a lot of good things tonight and got the ball to our athletes,” Rodgers said. “I really like how he’s maturing as a quarterback. He’s throwing the ball, running the ball and distributing it where it needs to go.”
As for the star of the night, Sadler also had some big compliments to pass his new quarterback’s way.
“Brandon threw the ball great tonight,” Sadler said. “I was really impressed. It’s the best he’s played so far. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season with him.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
Argyle 44, Kennedale 13
A — Ian Sadler 3 run (Cole Hedlund kick), 2:45
A — Nick Ralston 1 run (Hedlund kick), 7:13
A — Reese Thompson 80 fumble return (Hedlund kick), 1:44
A — Sadler 59 punt return (Hedlund kick), 9:57
A — Chance Bode 14 pass from Brandon Boyzuick (kick failed), 4:48
K — Juwan Washington 79 run (Tabor Key kick), 3:55
A — Sadler 80 kickoff return (Hedlund kick), 3:44
K — Washington 26 run (run failed), 11:23
A — Hedlund 27 field goal, 4:56
Rushing — K: Juwan Washington 16-162, Donny Darville 5-24, Zak Michener 9-87, Trey Williams 12-47, Isaiah Revelle 3-15, Jake Michener 1-1, Fred Scott 2-8, Ronald Hayes 1-6. A: Nick Ralston 17-90, Chance Bode 1-1, Ian Sadler 5-11, Brandon Boyzuick 6-20, Dalton Ledford 1-5, Terry Moore 2-2, Brayden Helliker 1-0.
Passing — K: Zak Michener 6-8-0-50. A: Brandon Boyzuick 13-19-0-131, Ian Sadler 0-1-0-0.
Receiving — K: Dalton Vondra 1-5, Isaiah Revelle 1-(-3), DaShawn Drummond 1-6, Jake Michener 2-11, Boomer Poppenger 1-31. A: Nick Ralston 1-11, Chance Bode 6-63, Jon Pucciarello 5-48, Dalton Ledford 1-9.