Plenty of fireworks went off for the McIntosh Chiefs in a 56-28 win over the Morrow Mustangs on Friday night.
The Chiefs shook off the bitter taste of a homecoming loss to Mundy’s Mill, piling on the points in a big road victory. Morrow went toe to toe with the Chiefs early, but the firepower was just too much as the game was blown wide open by a 21-point third quarter from McIntosh.
“Our offense is getting better each week,” said McIntosh coach Lee Belknap. “We are getting healthier, and our young kids get more experience each week. We feel like we still have a lot of room to grow.”
There’s no doubting the key in the resurgence of the McIntosh offense has been the return of a healthy Duke Kinamon under center. Duke had a night for the record books against Morrow, totaling more than 500 yards and an amazing eight touchdowns. It was one for the ages. Kinamon was ruthlessly efficient through the air, completing 19 of 24 passes for 375 yards with seven touchdowns and no interceptions. On the ground, he ran for 147 yards and a score on 14 carries.
“Duke is extremely important to our offense. He is special. I wouldn’t trade him for any QB in the state,” Belknap said. “He makes great reads, checks, and decisions. He is a dual-threat and is able to extend the play when we need him to. Those traits are what make him special.”
One of the brightest spots of the season so far has been the emergence of wide receiver Chandler Birrell. Birell is a first-year football player, but he’s playing like a veteran. Against Morrow, he torched the defense to the tune of eight catches for 167 yards and four touchdowns.
“Chandler Birrell has been a big surprise,” said Belknap. “He is finding out how good he can be. His performance at Morrow is what he is capable of every Friday night.”
Not to be lost in the shuffle is Josh Ange, who had a tremendous night of his own. Ange tallied eight catches for 109 yards and two touchdowns. Taylor Casterline was right behind with three catches for 99 yards and a score.
Patrick Triana paced the defense with 16 tackles. Doug Wood tallied a sack, while Robby Mustic snagged an interception and a fumble.
The first half of the game was heavy on back-and-forth action. McIntosh started the scoring with a Kinamon-Birrell 15-yard score. Morrow answered back with a 67-yard touchdown pass. Birrell and Kinamon connected again, this time from 10 yards, before Morrow knotted the score at 14-14 after one quarter.
The Chiefs scored two straight, one a Kinamon-Birrell 29-yard pass and the second a 13-yard Kinamon run. Morrow punched in a 10-yard run to make it 28-21 at halftime.
Morrow tied the score at 28-28 early in the second half before McIntosh put the game out of reach. Kinamon threw three third quarter touchdowns, one to Ange for 44 yards, one to Casterline for 48 yards, and one more to Birrell for 23 yards to put the Chiefs ahead 49-28.
McIntosh iced the game with a 16-yard Kinamon-Ange touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The Chiefs, now 2-3, travel to play the Northgate Vikings this week.