KINGSTON - Liberty running back Kymanni Dennis wasn’t discouraged when he had a long touchdown run called back on the first series due to a holding penalty. He had a feeling that there were going to be more opportunities to get in the end zone in Saturday night’s Section 9 non-league game versus Red Hook at Dietz Stadium.
Dennis was right as he scored three touchdowns and piled up 180 yards on 23 carries as the Indians whipped host Red Hook 32-18.
“I just shook it off and went on to the next play,” Dennis said of the 57-yard run that was wiped out by a penalty on the Indians’ third offensive play. “I know we have a good O-line and good backs so I knew we’d do what we had to do.”
Dennis had TD runs of 17, 24 and 28 yards as the Indians (2-1) led from start to finish. Senior quarterback Chris Bayer also had a big game for the Indians with a 9-yard touchdown run and an 84-yard scoring pass to Jah-Heam Mitchell.
Liberty dominated the Raiders (0-3) with Dennis and powerful inside runner Joe Robinson (13-91) facing little resistance at the point of attack as the Indians’ offensive line had the edge over Red Hook’s defensive line.
Bayer said the combination of Dennis and Robinson are hard to stop once they get rolling.
“Joe is a good complement to Kymanni,” Bayer said. “Joe Rob coming off the bench can give Kymanni a breather and still provide our offense with a spark. We always say he’s a short, stocky guy but he’s got some moves.”
Dennis’ patience after his first long run was nixed was rewarded as he scored on a 17-yard run up the middle on the second series to give the Indians a 6-0 lead with 11:19 left in the second quarter.
With the Indians clinging to the 6-0 lead late in the first half, Red Hook got a big break when it recovered a fumbled punt inside the Indians’ 25. But after a pair of penalties and two incompletions pushed the ball back to midfield, Dennis ended the threat with a leaping interception of Dylan Bayliss at the Liberty 19.
Three plays later, Bayer found Mitchell wide open down the left sideline with an 84-yard TD pass to extend the lead to 12-0 at the half.
“We had a stop and go (pattern) and I tried to sell the pump fake and let it fly,” Bayer said. “I knew he was going to go and get it. That was a big touchdown for us.”
After Red Hook closed to within 12-6 on a Bayliss TD pass to Gavin Cole on the Raiders’ first drive of the second half, Bayer’sTD run late in the third quarter and Dennis’ 24-yard touchdown run with 9:30 left in the game gave the Indians’ a 25-6 lead.
Dennis was barely touched on his final scoring jaunt from 28 yards out.