In a game wrought with penalties and injuries, the John F. Kennedy Eagles lost to the St. Patrick-St. Vincent Bruins in Vallejo last night.
It was a tough game for the Eagles from the beginning. The game started with back-to-back touchdowns by the Bruins in the first couple minutes. The Eagles fought back, scoring a touchdown of their own, but the game took a turn for the worse when Isaiah McClain, Kennedy’s offensive linchpin, was injured and taken out of the game in the first quarter.
Things started to look up for the Eagles as Kenneth Walker ran a 22-yard touchdown, which he followed up with a 46-yard touchdown, but the Bruins never gave up their lead.
By half time, it was tense on the Eagles’ sidelines. Head coach Clyde Byrd laid into the team. “We can score on them,” he said, but they would need to tighten up and play more strategically.
Roxanne Brown-Garcia, Kennedy High School principal, shouted encouragement from the sidelines as the team went back to the field. “Stay in the game, Eagles” she shouted. “I don’t care what the score is,” she said, “We’re not giving up. We don’t give up!”
Kennedy played strong until the end, although they were never able to overtake the Bruins. In the last few moments of the game, the Eagles suffered one final blow. Charles Crane broke through the Bruins line to score a touchdown. After the referee called the touchdown, Crane was tackled at the knees by one of the Bruins. Medics assessed him on the field, and Crane was carried off the field writhing in pain.
At the end of the game, the score was 70-34 to St. Patrick-St. Vincent.
After the game, Coach Byrd did not hide his frustration. Despite the injuries to two of their strongest players and a host of penalties, he told the team they lost because they weren’t prepared. “I’m tired of losing because we don’t prepare and do the things we need to do,” he said.
Then he softened, and offered encouragement. “You played hard. Nobody quit. You wanted to come out and fight, and you did,” he said, “In my heart, I know we’re a better team. Now we got to learn to play together better.”