Kirkwood senior linebacker Jahmal Hicks says his teammate Ramon Alton is like a superhero.
“Ramon Alton is like Clark Kent out there. He can make someone miss in a phone booth,” Hicks said. “He’s a quick guy with amazing skills.”
Alton, a 160-pound junior running back, exhibited that ability Friday night with a 64-yard touchdown run and 126 yards on 12 carries in a 36-7 victory over visiting Rockwood Summit in a Suburban South Conference season opener for both teams
Part of a thunder-and-lightning combo—or Batman and Robin, if you will—in the backfield with 210-pound back Henry Banks, Alton’s work helped the Pioneers capitalize on five turnovers by Summit in the first half.
Kirkwood (1-0) recovered four fumbles, two by senior Jeremiah Chester and one returned for a touchdown by junior JJ Jones, and intercepted one pass. But Kirkwood coach Matt Irvin would like better production than three touchdowns on seven offensive possessions.
“We would like to finish more of our drives,” he said. “But our defense was very opportunistic and gave us a lot of chances to capitalize.”
By the fourth quarter, the Pioneers played mostly second stringers while their 200-member marching band entertained the red-clad student section between plays, sparking the occasional mini-mosh pit among the youngsters.
Kirkwood’s ground attack totaled 281 yards with 64 yards from senior Banks.
“We actually return quite a few guys on defense, so I’m really surprised our defense didn’t play better,” Summit coach Mike Bellers said. “The turnovers didn’t help; we put them in some bad situations.”
BJ Buckner, who threw for 1,535 yards last season, surprisingly played wide receiver for much of the contest with junior Jordan Bishop (82 passing yards, two passing TDs, 29 rushing yards and one rushing TD) taking most of the snaps.
Summit junior Ian McIntosh was stymied throughout the contest. He scored a touchdown late in the fourth quarter but had just 21 yards on 10 carries.
Falcons senior receiver Joey Schenk caught eight balls for 99 yards from senior Tyler Karst, who had 132 yards passing despite a swarming Kirkwood defense that allow him little time to anyone with the ball.
“A lot of times they were on us quicker than our kids could secure the ball,” Bellers said of the fumbles. “In practice, we just don’t see that type of speed.”
Alton’s 64-yard TD run came with 2:30 left in the first quarter. Eric Phillips recovered a fumble on Summit’s next offensive play, and 11 seconds later, Bishop found receiver Mike McHugh in the back corner of the end zone for a 24-yard strike to make it 16-0.
Kirkwood’s second quarter touchdowns came about a minute apart.
Bishop’s 27-yard TD run came with 6:05 left and Jones returned a fumble for a TD on the Summit’s second play of the series with 4:58 left.
“It was a good start, but we still have a lot to work on,” Hicks said. “We’re going to keep building on this and hope to cause more turnovers in more games.”