Perfect through its first three games, the Kenwood football team couldn’t afford to be anything less when it hosted perennial Baltimore County power Franklin on Friday.
The Bluebirds made several mistakes, making their first loss of the season a 42-0 thumping at the hands of the Indians.
Kenwood started the season 3-0 after beating Chesapeake 30-6, Western Tech 48-0 and Hereford 38-37.
Hereford is another traditional county power, but not in the same league as Franklin. The Indians won Class 3A state titles in 2013 and 2014, went to the state championship game in 2016 and the regional finals last season.
The last thing Franklin needed was gifts from Kenwood. But the Bluebirds spent the game in a giving mood.
On the opening possession of the game, Karlar Farley took a short pass from Keyon Garrus and took it down to close to the Franklin 25-yard line.
But a holding penalty set Kenwood back, and the Bluebirds ended up punting.
The Kenwood defense held, forcing Franklin to punt from midfield, only to get hit with a roughing the kicker penalty on the punt.
The Indians quickly exploited the the mistake, scoring in two plays to take a 7-0 lead.
After a Kenwood punt, Franklin drove 46 yards in five plays to increase its lead to 13-0. The Indians converted a third and 13 during the drive, and the Bluebirds missed tackles on the 19-yard touchdown run.
Kenwood again went three-and-out, and Franklin drove 50 yards in four plays with the help of an unnecessary roughness penalty against the Bluebirds.
Now trailing 20-0, Kenwood drove from its 15-yard line to a first down at the Franklin two-yard line.
Garrus, starting in the place of the injured Adam Harter, connected with Daylon Duncan for completions of 10 and 15 yards during the drive, and with Farley for gains of 32 and 24 yards.
But on second and goal from the two-yard-line, Kenwood fumbled on an exchange and Franklin recovered.
The Bluebirds still had a chance to go into halftime trailing only 20-7 after holding Franklin to a three-and-out and taking over on the Indians’ 31-yard-line after a short punt.
Garrus quickly hit Jashaun Wilson for a 16-yard gain down to the Franklin 15. But on fourth and one from the Indian six, a run off the left side came up an inch or so short of the first down.
The Bluebird defense held on Franklin’s first two possessions of the second half, but Kenwood lost a fumble at the Indian 6 and then committed a personal foul on a punt return that left Franklin starting at the Kenwood 30-yard line.
The Indians scored on that possession and their next two possessions to turn the game into a rout.
Franklin’s last touchdown was set up by the Bluebirds failing to pick up a kickoff and the Indians recovering the ball at the Kenwood 11-yard line.
Kenwood will play at Perry Hall on Friday at 6 p.m.
Eastern Tech did remain unbeaten with a 13-7 win over visiting New Town on Friday.
The Mavericks (4-0) play at Owings Mills (2-2) on Friday.