Kennedy’s teamwork and speed proved too much for visiting St. Patrick-St. Vincent on Saturday in 43-27 Eagles victory.
Senior quarterback Octavious Holley threw three touchdown passes to three different players, sophomore running back Jordan Whitley ran for another, and senior wide receiver Kenneth Walker provided a spark on both ends of the ball with touchdowns on an 82-yard run and a 40-yard fumble recovery.
The Eagles ability to spread the ball around overwhelmed the Bruins.
“It’s by design and opportunity,” Coach Mack Carminer said. “Mostly it was about just making some plays.”
Kennedy improved to 1-1 in the conference and 2-3 overall.
The Eagles started out hot with Holley completing his first six passes. Jonathan Whitley made a highlight-reel back-shoulder catch along the sideline in the corner of the end zone, outleaping a defender for the ball and the first points of the game. The Bruins went three-and-out, and Holley and Jordan Whitley led the Eagles straight back down the field, with Holley capping a six-play drive with a touchdown pass.
Then, as the first quarter ended, Kenneth Walker took over. On the Eagles’ next possession Jordan Whitley fumbled at midfield, and Walker — the Cal commit referred to repeatedly by the PA announcer as “Mr. Cal Berkeley the track star” — chased down the recovering Bruins player from nearly 30 yards away, catching and tackling him at the Eagles’ 10 to save a touchdown.
The Kennedy defense held and got the ball back on downs, and when the Eagles drive stalled, three plays later Walker was in to punt. But the snap was low, bouncing off the turf before it reached Walker, who scooped up the ball, outran the defenders to the edge, broke a tackle and sprinted 82 yards for Kennedy’s third touchdown. Adding to his impressive game he also picked up a fumble and returned it for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, and had an electrifying 80-yard punt – maybe his strangest play, as the ball took a favorable bounce and rolled the final 40 yards.
“I just kick the ball,” Walker said, smiling.
Kennedy led 21-7 at halftime but got the ball back quickly in the second half on an interception by senior safety Keonte Woods. Five plays later Holley avoided the rush, stepped up, and threw 25 yards to senior wide receiver Eric Mims for a touchdown.
Mims’ dad, Eric Mims Sr. was watching in the stands, saw his son beat the defender, and knew it was going to happen.
“Throw him the ball,” Eric Mims said. “I felt he was going to make a touchdown.”
After Walkers’ fumble return for a touchdown led to a 41-13 lead, Kennedy got sloppy in the fourth quarter. They allowed touchdowns on consecutive Bruin possessions, sandwiched around an interception of Holley on a tipped ball.
Addressing his team after the game, Coach Carminer said that the win was the important thing.
“A win is a win,” he said. “We’ll take it.”
That’s especially true for a team coming off consecutive close losses, including a heartbreaker last weekend at Moreau Catholic.
“We had a few ups and downs but we had hard practices this week,” Walker said. “You practice how you play.”
In the postgame huddle Walker, the team captain, found a positive in his teammates lack of penalties.
Coach Carminer agreed.
“We’ve got room to grow,” he said. “Overall, good job.”
Kennedy plays at home against St. Mary’s next Saturday at 1:30.