Fenwick’s Jack Fessler (3) takes a handoff from Sully Janeck and gets a block from Leo Bell (59) during a 57-26 victory over host McNicholas on Sept. 28 at Penn Station Stadium in Cincinnati. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ANGIE MOHRHAUS

Prep football: GCLC’s top running backs featured in Fenwick-Roger Bacon

MIDDLETOWN — Dan Haverkamp won’t complain about a 17-point victory. But like all coaches, he will admittedly do a little nitpicking.

Fenwick High School’s football team recorded a 31-14 victory over Purcell Marian on Senior Night last Friday. It was the Falcons’ third straight win, but something less than a work of art.

“There were definitely some things we could’ve done better,” Haverkamp said. “I never felt like we were clicking on all cylinders offensively, especially in the first half.

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“If I were going to give them the benefit of the doubt on something affecting their play, I think it was more Senior Night than a letdown coming off the week before. Sometimes on Senior Night kids will rally and play above. Sometimes that little bit of emotion and a little different routine can throw guys off. I wouldn’t have expected it to with our team, but with how we came into the first half compared to how we played in the second half, I do think it may have affected us a little bit more than I thought it would have.”

Fenwick, 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the Greater Catholic League Coed North Division, is surging toward a Division III, Region 12 playoff berth and has two road games remaining in the regular season. The Falcons will meet Roger Bacon (3-5, 1-4) on Friday and Carroll (5-3, 2-3) in Week 10.

Fenwick-Bacon features the GCLC’s top two running backs. Senior Jack Fessler has rushed for 1,318 yards and 18 touchdowns for the Falcons, while sophomore Corey Kiner has run for 1,397 yards and 22 TDs for the Spartans.

Bacon coach Mike Blaut said Kiner was coming off an illness last Friday and still had 146 yards on 28 carries in a 33-21 loss to Carroll.

“We’ve had to play the last two games sick … we’ve had some strep throat running through the locker room,” Blaut said. “I think all of that is finally gone and we’re starting to get past the injury bug as well, so we’re feeling pretty good about this game.”

Friday’s contest will be Senior Night and homecoming for the Spartans, who’ve managed just one win (over McNicholas) in their last six games.

Blaut said Fessler is every bit as good as advertised, and Haverkamp said the same thing about Kiner.

“He has done some things that I have never seen any player do on film,” the Fenwick coach said. “There’s multiple plays in different games where it seems like there’s four guys that have him wrapped up, and a second later he’s running down the field for a 60-yard touchdown. He’s a little bit of a magician in that regard. He seems to be able to make something happen when nothing should be there.”

Bacon has the ability to throw the ball as well — junior quarterback Tyler Bullock is 77-of-149 for 1,068 yards and six touchdowns. But the Spartan rank last in the entire GCLC in total defense, allowing 359.8 yards per game.

Senior quarterback Sully Janeck is 88-of-160 for 1,357 yards and 12 TDs for the Falcons. They’ve been giving up a lot of yards per contest (333.8), but they’ve limited five of their opponents to 21 points or less.

“Their defense is one of the better ones we’ve seen throughout the year,” Blaut said. “We thought Chaminade had a really good one, and Fenwick might be a step or so better. They don’t have overwhelming great players. They just do what they’re coached to do. They’re very well disciplined. They don’t miss tackles. They close on the football very quickly.”

Junior cornerback Jake Berning returned to the field for Fenwick last Friday and totaled 10 tackles. He had been out since suffering a hip injury during the season opener against Anna.

Friday’s game

What: Fenwick (6-2, 4-1 GCLC North) at Roger Bacon (3-5, 1-4 GCLC Central), 7 p.m.

Where: Bron Bacevich Memorial Stadium, 35 E. Mitchell Ave., St. Bernard

Series: Fenwick leads 11-2 and has won the last nine meetings, including 31-18 in 2017

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