Fenton offense enjoys a little kick-start from Mercado
Not that Carlos Mercado needs the work, but he's sewn up kicking duties for Fenton's football team.
With veteran execution the Bison's kicker of three weeks delivered a perfect onside kick to start Saturday's Metro Suburban Conference crossover game at Walther Christian. Recovered by teammate Brian Jaramillo, the kick-start meshed perfectly with a hurry-up offense that racked up a 55-8 victory at the Broncos' Fran Fanelli Jr. Memorial Field in Melrose Park.
"The onside kick was good," said Mercado, whose interception at cornerback and 12-yard flanker sweep for touchdown also showed the senior's all-conference chops.
"We started off ready to get the ball because we didn't get what we wanted from the coin toss," said Mercado, who called himself a "last resort" as kicker. "But yeah, our offense was ready so we got the onside kick. We were just ready to go."
Go Fenton (2-2) did, coach Matthew Lynch's up-tempo scheme slowed only by the referees' mandated water breaks to counter August-like heat.
Aided by Amari Baldwin and Jimmy Deckert fumble recoveries on Walther's first two possessions Fenton scored the first six times it had the ball and added Ivan Lozado's 52-yard interception return to post a 47-0 lead at 8:33 of the second quarter.
Fenton finished with 257 yards rushing, and quarterback Kyle Cacioppo completed 10 of 16 passes for 126 yards.
"We turned the ball over. If we didn't do that, take 21 points away from them," said Broncos coach Darrold Muzzall, a 1977 graduate of Walther (0-4), leaving the Metro Suburban next year for the Northeastern Athletic Conference.
Scoring the Broncos' first points since Week 1, quarterback Malik Whittier's 1-yard sneak and conversion run made the halftime score 47-8 and postponed a running clock for the entire second half.
Fenton's Dylan Butts squared that away at 9:45 of the third quarter on a 37-yard touchdown run, his fifth of the game.
"They had me out for a few of our drives to let some of our other guys get in there," said Butts, a three-year starter. "They decided to put me in there one more time and I was real excited and I really wanted to score."
Maybe it was habit. Butts ran 13 times for 137 yards and first-half touchdowns of 5, 16, 10 and 30 yards, sandwiching Ethan Doliente's 1-yard blast. Fenton's D.J. Kelly earned a fourth-quarter safety by causing a fumble into Walther's end zone after a 44-yard punt by Butts.
"You know, for four weeks I've thought our kids have played extremely hard and I'm pleased with how hard they play," Lynch said. "It's now keeping them mentally focused and building on this and keep grinding. Because, you know, the grind comes right now."