For the 2nd time this season Lakota East met Sycamore on the gridiron. After losing to Sycamore by a field goal to start its season, Lakota East wanted to set the tone of the two teams’ first-round playoff game Friday in Liberty Township.  The Hawks made sure this game had a different outcome. On the first offensive snap for the Thunderhawks, running back Charlie Kenrich ran for a season-long 73 yards to set up first-and-goal. Three plays later, Kenrich’s first rushing TD of the year gave Lakota East a lead they would not relinquish over the final 45 minutes en route to a 28-10 victory.

Kenrich was the story of the first half as the 6-foot-3 junior ran for 80 yards and a score on four attempts. He also leaked out of the backfield and hauled in an eight-yard touchdown pass from TJ Kathman with 1:26 left in the first half to give Lakota East a 21-10 advantage at the intermission.

Kathman, who had the most passing touchdowns (9) in a regular-season by a Lakota East quarterback since 2005, used his legs to take over in the final two quarters. In the second half, the junior signal-caller ran nine times for 100 yards to finish with a season-high 134.

Sycamore mounted a drive deep into Lakota East territory late in the third quarter. On the first play of the fourth quarter ran to the Lakota East 10, where he was stripped. Lakota East’s Josh Thornhill, who had an interception in three straight games prior to the postseason, leaped on the discharged pigskin for the game’s only turnover.

Kathman proceeded to run five times for 79 yards on Lakota East’s ensuing drive, setting up Jordell Smith’s three-yard TD run with 8:34 left in regulation to put the game away.

As a team, Lakota East’s triple-option attack churned out 320 yards on the ground and averaged 8.4 per attempt. Thornhill ran for 71 yards on five carries and fullback Eric Davis added 19.

In his 11th season at the helm of the Thunderhawks, head coach Rick Haynes has been on the sidelines of every playoff game in program history and improved to 4-3 with the win. Lakota East is a perfect 4-0 in first-round contests, but have never advanced past the second round.

The Thunderhawks will head just eight miles south to face rival Lakota West in the second round Oct. 16. The unbeaten and state-ranked Firebirds handled West Clermont Friday, 44-0. Next Friday’s winner will meet either Mason or Colerain in the Regional Semi-Final on Friday, Oct. 23rd.