DWIGHT — Jay Lemenager is as complete a quarterback as there is. And while Central’s all-time passing leader prefers flinging it downfield to his deep crop of skill players, Lemenager displayed his complete talents by running in a pair of early touchdowns before getting his teammates involved with four touchdown passes as the Comets moved to 3-0 with a 40-6 victory at Dwight Saturday.
Central coach Brian Spooner said the Comets didn’t plan on using Lemenager’s legs much early on, but with the Trojans focusing their coverage on stopping the Comets’ aerial attack, he trusted his quarterback to make plays with his legs.
“Nobody ever challenges us with a man-to-man defense because we have so much speed on the outside but today they came out in man defense and it took us a while to figure out what we wanted to do against that,” Spooner said. “Once we figured that out we were in good shape, but with three, four, five guys in the box they were almost daring us to run the ball.
“We started to run the ball and that opened up some things in the passing game … and the rest is kind of history.”
Lemenager capped off a pair of slow-but-steady Central drives with ground scores to open the game before the Comets blew the lid off the game early in the second quarter. The Trojans went three-and-out on the ensuing possession after Lemenager’s second score, and after the wind got strong hold of Dwight’s punt attempt that netted four yards, the Comets quickly made it 18-0 on a nine-yard pass from Lemenager to Jacob Shoven.
Chandler Burrow then picked off Dwight’s Carson Crouch and gave the Comets great field possession once again, where they took advantage when Lemenager’s second touchdown went to Caden Perry for 26 yards, turning a 6-0 game after a quarter to a 26-0 game less than halfway into the second.
The Comets took a 34-0 lead into halftime when Lemenager’s screen pass to Burrow busted for a 45-yard score just before the break, and his final passing score went to Logan Beherns early in the third quarter from nine yards out.
“It’s a beautiful thing to watch when everybody’s involved in the offense,” Lemenager said. “Not one person scoring all the touchdowns, but who can they guard and who’s the next person to make the play? Today it was everybody.”
The Trojans finally broke their scoreless spell in the fourth quarter when Crouch connected with Caden Schroeder for a 17-yard score. Dwight entered Saturday 2-0 with at least 30 points in each of their first two games, but coach Luke Standiford said a test provided against a team like Central, the sixth-ranked Class 2A team in the IHSA Associated Press Poll, indicates just where the team stands.
“It kind of gives us a better idea of what kind of football team we have,” Standiford said. “The first two games of the season are games I expected us to win and we did.
“Games like this, and then Seneca and [Paxton-Buckley-Loda] coming up, those are all really good football teams and to beat them you have to put together four quarters of not turning the ball over and doing things the right way,” he added. “We haven’t done that yet and until we can do that we’ll have to find a way to beat good football teams.”
For the Comets, the four quarters of complete defensive enthusiasm was something Spooner hoped to see. After allowing a whopping 30 points in the first half of their win against Seneca last week, Central’s defense has now allowed just 14 points the past six quarters.
“I love the way we play when we play physical and get after it, and when we do that we’re in good shape,” Spooner said. “They answered the call and we rode them hard all week.
“We knew Dwight is bigger and runs a physical running attack like Seneca, and if we didn’t respond we would be in another dogfight and we didn’t want that.”
Lemenager was 12-for-18 through the air for 205 yards and his four touchdowns, with his two rushing scores and 42 rushing yards coming on eight carries. Burrow had 77 receiving yards on three catches and Shoven had five catches for 55 yards.
Crouch was 5-for-15 for 54 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions and he also ran for 34 yards on 16 carries. Jack Duffy had 12 carries for 42 yards. Schroeder had two receptions for 32 yards and his touchdown.
The Comets are on the road again next weekend when they visit Walter Christian at 1 p.m. Saturday. Dwight visits Paxton-Buckley-Loda at 7 p.m. Friday.