Nana Kyeremeh scored on a 26-yard blocked punt return and a 32-yard interception return to lead the Thomas Worthington High School football team to a 55-0 win over visiting Westland in an OCC-Central Division game on Friday, Oct. 7.
The Cardinals improved to 2-5 overall and 1-3 in the OCC-Central, while Westland dropped to 1-6 and 0-4.
Thomas had a 76-yard touchdown pass on their second play from scrimmage nullified by a penalty, but not much else went wrong for the Cardinals.
"My first thought after the touchdown was called back was, 'We've certainly been here before,’" Thomas coach Scott Gordon said.
Thomas was coming off back-to-back shutout losses. The Cardinals had lost 33-0 to Hilliard Davidson on Sept. 23 and 24-0 to Dublin Coffman on Sept. 30.
Thomas scored on its first possession, with running back Eric Monfort capping an eight-play drive with an 11-yard touchdown run with 3 minutes, 9 seconds left in the first quarter.
Quarterback Jalen Wells led the Cardinals to consecutive scoring drives in the second quarter, connecting with tight end Alex Wilson on a 21-yard touchdown pass on a broken play and scoring on a 9-yard run, to make it 21-0.
Kyeremeh, a wide receiver and defensive back, blocked a punt late in the first half and returned it 26 yards to the end zone to give the Cardinals a 28-0 lead at halftime.
"That was Nana's fourth blocked punt of the season," Gordon said. "He runs a 4.25 (second) 40-yard dash, so you don't teach that kind of speed."
Kyeremeh enjoys being a punt-blocking specialist.
"When you can get a blocked punt, that always fires up your team," he said. "They're fun."
Thomas’ defense held Westland to 21 yards rushing and three first downs in the first half.
"What are you guys doing out there?" Westland coach Steve White asked his players after the game. "You had opportunities to move the ball and get first downs and you didn't do it. Instead, you put the (defense) in one horrible spot after another all night long. We had our chances to move the football."
Westland finished with just 44 yards rushing on 28 carries. Thirteen of those 13 carries for either no gain or negative yardage.
"Our defense got after it and played hard. They were quick to the ball," Gordon said. "The (defense) has played well much of the season. Even in some of those lopsided losses, they played well even though they didn't get results. Our offense has put the defense in tough spots all season long."
Monfort rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries and running back Tony Harvard had 97 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.
Wells completed 9 of 18 passes for 115 yards despite having to handle nearly a dozen low shotgun snaps.
"I make my share of mistakes, so I wouldn't point a finger at anybody else," Wells said of the penalties and bad snaps. "But we knew even after the long pass was called back that we were going to move the ball and score, and that's just what we did."
WESTLAND 0 0 0 0 -- 0
THOMAS WORTHINGTON 7 21 14 13 -- 55
TW--Monfort 11 run (Shary kick)
TW--Wilson 21 pass from Wells (Shary kick)
TW--Wells 9 run (Shary kick)
TW--Kyeremeh 26 blocked punt return (Shary kick)
TW--Borders 8 run (Shary kick)
TW--Kyeremeh 32 interception return (Shary kick)
TW--Harvard 7 run (kick failed)
TW--Petrucelli 2 run (Shary kick)