STAMFORD — If the King School football team wanted to have a truly meaningful 2017 season, Saturday was the day that the Vikings needed to display some championship mettle.
The Vikings had starting junior lineman Lewis Baer out injured and senior quad-captain Kelly Gouin available on a very limited basis.
After a trio of expected wins to open the season, King was hosting archrival Kingswood-Oxford. The Wyverns — although younger — had their usual size edge in the trenches over King.
The Vikings fashioned enough big plays at critical moments to come away with a 27-13 triumph to the delight of the home faithful.
“There were some things I wish I could have back. But the bottom line is we beat a good football team today. This is a good win for us,” said King veteran coach Dan Gouin. “This performance was a step this group needed to take. We had a lot of kids do what was needed in order for us to win the game.
“Whether guys get in for one play or 10 plays, let them be their best plays,” Gouin continued. “That’s what everybody needs to understand. The question isn’t ‘when do I get the ball?’ The question is ‘what do I have to do to help us win?’ ”
The afternoon was about the King defense standing tall on fourth down-and-1 at the Viking 16. It was about an interception by reserve safety Grady Boruchin.
It was about James Scarlata kicking the first three extra points of his career along with making a key interception and having a second INT nullified by a penalty.
DON’T FORGET THE STARS
A number of King seniors — who were major factors in the Vikings’ 9-1 campaign in 2016 that concluded with a NEPSAC Class C title — showed their focus is about adding another championship.
After the defense stopped Kingswood-Oxford cold on fourth-and-1 at the King 26 midway in the third quarter, King wide receiver A.J. Greene had receptions of 41 and 33 yards from quarterback Renn Lints.
The seven-play, 74-yard march ended with a 1-yard TD run by Lints for a 21-7 King edge with 1:50 left in the third quarter.
“We are a big-play offense,” Greene said. “I noticed the way that the Kingswood-Oxford secondary was covering me and I thought I could beat the coverage. Renn (Lints) threw a pair of great passes and we made the shots count.”
Senior quad-captain Evan Townsend-Henry filled in on the offensive line Saturday as he had at times earlier in the season.
But after a Scarlata interception with 4:42 to play and King clinging to a 21-13 edge, Townsend-Henry returned to his normal fullback slot.
Three carries and 51 yards later, Townsend-Henry capped the 64-yard march with a 32-yard touchdown burst for 27-13 with 2:01 to go.
KINGSWOOD-OXFORD HURT ITSELF
Kingswood-Oxford (1-2) did manage 133 yards rushing on 30 carries, and 118 yards passing.
However, the Wyverns’ quarterbacks — senior Ben Tauber and sophomore Sam Capodice — did throw two untimely interceptions. Kingswood-Oxford, which did score just 4.3 seconds before halftime on a 30-yard pass from Tauber to Jeff Davis, trailed throughout the contest.
“We beat ourselves,” Kingswood-Oxford coach Jason Martinez said. “Too many turnovers. And 100 yards in penalties. It’s hard to win that way against a team like King. Their quarterback (Renn Lints) does a great job managing their offense. We stopped ourselves too often. It’s a lesson a young team like ours must learn.”
THIS IS CIRCLED ON ALL CALENDARS
Next up for King (4-0) is a Homecoming clash at Hamden Hall Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
Hamden Hall was the only school to beat King in 2016 as it went on to become FAA champions.
“I feel good about us heading into next week,” King coach Gouin said. “We played for 48 minutes today. The kids realize the big dogs on our schedule are here. And we have to get after it. Homecoming night at Hamden Hall will only add to the excitement.”
KING 27, KINGSWOOD-OXFORD 13
KINGSWOOD-OXFORD 0 7 0 6—13
KING 7 7 7 6—27
King—Renn Lints 22 run (James Scarlata kick)
King—LeVaughn Lewis 4 pass from Lints (Scarlata kick)
KO—Jeff Davis 30 pass from Ben Tauber (Anthony Melody kick)
King—Lints 1 run (Scarlata kick)
KO—Sam Capodice 9 run (kick failed)
King—Evan Townsend-Henry 32 run (kick failed)
Records: Kingswood-Oxford 1-2; King 4-0.