Don't look at the record, but it's officially a good season for Kenmore West.
That's what happens when a struggling outfit wins its rivalry game.
Ken West rallied and held on for a 21-18 victory over Kenmore East at Crosby Field on Saturday afternoon in the two Ken-Ton Schools' annual grudge match before more than 3,000 fans.
Junior Joseph Stewart's 24-yard touchdown run with 9 minutes, 36 seconds left gave the Blue Devils the lead for good as they beat Ken East for the third straight year.
Both teams came in with just two wins between them – totals that could have been better if not for each having trouble closing out games.
For the fourth week in a row, Ken West came into the fourth quarter with the advantage on the scoreboard only to fall behind. Unlike the previous three, the Blue Devils responded and made the plays to finish off the Bulldogs.
Player of the game: Stewart. That's an easy call.
In addition to scoring what proved to be the game-winning TD, he also scored on an 11-yard run early in the second quarter to provide the first points of the contest. He also made an interception after his last TD gave Ken West the lead for good. He also broke up a third-down pass that had it had been caught would have given East a first down in Ken West territory with under 2 minutes left. (Cameron Crosier picked off a desperation fourth-down pass on the next play.)
Stewart's 49-yard run for a first down with 30 seconds left sealed the win.
He finished with 194 yards on 20 rushes and made eight tackles on defense.
Back and forth: Neither team held a lead greater than eight points in this one. Each squad was quick to reply when the other scored.
After Stewart gave the Blue Devils the early 8-0 lead, East marched down the field and scored on Nathan Murdie's 1-yard run (the Bulldogs failed on the 2-point conversion). Ken West went ahead 14-6 on its next possession on a 4-yard run by Eddie Vona – capping a drive that featured a 33-yard gain by Stewart off a hook-and-ladder play after a Jacob Poumitt reception.
Ken East pulled within two before the end of the first half on Murdie's 18-yard TD pass to Brandon Baker.
East takes the lead: After a scoreless third quarter in which both teams combined for three turnovers, the Bulldogs pulled ahead 18-14 on D'Anzo Young's 56-yard touchdown run with 11:31 left.
But East's quest to beat West for the first time since a 7-0 win in 2014 wasn't in the cards. Stewart scored on the next drive for the Blue Devils, and Ken East turned it over on each of its last two possessions.
Records: Kenmore West is 2-5, Ken East 1-6.
Etcetera: Kenmore West now leads the all-time series between the teams, 39-18-2. … Ken West's only wins this season were big ones. The Blue Devils won the very first night game on the new all-weather surface at remodeled Crosby Field in Week One. They won the first Ken West-Ken East game played at the remodeled facilty. … Next year will also be a first in the rivalry as Ken East hosts the game in renovated Sparky Adams Field, which also has all-weather surface. Since Adams Field has lights, the option is available for it to potentially be a prime-time game.
Next: Matchup games for both teams.