Kitchin beats nerves, Strath Haven pours it on Kensington

Kitchin beats nerves, Strath Haven pours it on Kensington
Kitchin beats nerves, Strath Haven pours it on Kensington

NETHER PROVIDENCE — Jake Kitchin has been prepping all week for his shot.

The Strath Haven junior quarterback knew starter Sam Milligan suffered a hand injury for most of last week’s win over Interboro. He saw the two-year-old starting report for training this week with his right wrist and hand heavily wrapped.

Kitchin knew Thursday night’s non-league game against Kensington would be in his hands. And around the time Chase Nangle passed a whirlwind cornerback unassisted from a deep safety late in the second quarter, Kitchin began to feel up to the task.

Kitchin joined Nangle on a game-changing 72-yard touchdown, giving Haven a late 16-point lead at halftime and an eventual 50-6 rout of Kensington.

“I’m the next guy,” Kitchin said. “I was nervous at first, but my teammates helped me through this ordeal. They said to me, ‘calm down, we have this for you’. They helped me a lot for that. I thank them for what I did today.

Kitchin took a while to get used to the job, although a seven-yard touchdown from Anthony Crawford in the first series meant Haven never trailed. In the middle of the second quarter, Haven (2-0) was led by this solitary score. And it was further cut when Alani Coto of Kensington buried a punt at the 1 yard line.

On Haven’s first snap, Kitchin missed the snap, the ball appearing just above head height for defensive tackle Shawn Turino to get his hands on it a yard inside the end zone.

The kick fell short, leaving Haven in the lead 7-6. But the damage could have been done had it not been for a quick conference between Milligan and Kitchin, with the veteran telling him to keep his head held high.

Three snaps later, the third and the 11, Kitchin found Nangle on top of the defense to sprint onto the Haven sideline.

Not far behind him was a euphoric Kitchin, in a fist frenzy.

“They had their lightning turns, so he was open from the first second he ran,” Kitchin said. “I saw it,” he said. It was kind of a weird pass, but he got it and scored a touchdown. That’s what really blew up our offense for the rest of the game.

It would be Kitchin’s only completion in three attempts, an improvement from zero in Week 1. Kitchin hit Marco Kaufman for the two-point conversion to make it 15-6.

From there, Haven’s superior running game took control. The backfield committee totaled 43 times for 330 yards, led by Crawford’s 17 for 143. He scored three times, including a 21-yard getaway with 42 seconds left in the first half and a six-yarder for 8 :51 of the third.

“I think everyone realized they had to step in,” Crawford said. “Sam is our boss. He’s one of our captains. With Jake in there, a young guy who’s never really played before, everyone had to up their game. Everyone had to step up. I think initially it was a bit unstable, then we took the opportunity.

Bob Fooskas added seven carries for 90 yards, clubbing his way to a 30-yard score on third. Shane Green and third QB Matt Jones added quick scores.

It was a lot for the defense. Kensington showed some glimmers, with Jason Slevenski putting in a good first-half drive netting his first four assists. But he was picked twice, an Alex Glavacic pick setting up Crawford’s second TD and Green returning an interception 46 yards past Jones’ 17-yard kicker.

Crawford and Jack Dougherty picked up fumbles. Slevenski has been sacked five times – twice by Ben Farabaugh, twice by Austin Conner and a strip sack by Vince Hales.

“The speed of the ends and the experience and the size and the strength of the two inside guys, I don’t know of any O-line that can handle that,” Crawford said. “They were fantastic all night.”

Kitchin has proven he can handle pressure well. With a TD and a win under his belt, he’s ready for more.

“It means a lot to me,” he said. “I start the game nervous, and it’s like, oh my teammates, they’re really there for me. I have to do this for the next two weeks until Sam comes back.

. Football Kitchin beats the nerfs Strath Haven pours on Kensington

. Kitchin beats nerves Strath Haven pours Kensington

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