The Kennedy Eagles shut down the Albany Cougars 36-0 on Friday for their second win in a row.
“I think they are starting to remember what they are playing for,” said Head Coach Mack Carminer.
The scoring came quickly for the Eagles. They punched in a touchdown from the 2 yard line just five minutes into the game.
On their second possession, number 81, Raysean Walker, caught a long pass at the 40 and ran it in for the second touchdown of the game.
For Walker, the games are about more than high school football. On the back of his helmet, he adorns a tribute to slain fellow player, Ulises Grijalva. Even though Grijalva passed away this summer “he is still a big part of the team,” said Walker, and added if he were here “he’d be cheering it up.”
After a successful two-point conversion, the score was 14-0.
From the cluster of Albany players in the Eagles end zone, someone angrily shouted, “Are you kidding me?”
The Eagles would prove this game was not a joke.
Lucy Timoteo, mother of number 44, Ernie Timoteo, was shouting “there you go!” as the second quarter began.
Lucy said that following the team’s triumphant win last week “they’re juiced.”
The second quarter opened with a first down for the Eagles following a completed pass to number 88, Takkarist Mckinley. The Eagles quickly gained another first down, just over a minute into the quarter.
Mckinley, a senior, was a prized college recruit and will be a Cal Bear in the fall. He played tough throughout the game.
The Eagles fans in attendance were small but vocal. The only competition was the roar of a passing BART train, adjacent to the field. But the Eagles’ cheering was never quelled.
Following a turnover, the Cougars were trying to gain their first significant yardage of the game, when number 15, Rashid Jammerson, hit a Cougar player with an audible crack, sending Jammerson’s helmet flying. As the rules dictate, Jammerson had to sit out for one play. Albany advanced to the 45-yard line.
After a Cougar punt, the Eagles drove again.
Raysean Walker again gathered in a pass at the 30-yard line, evaded several Cougars, and streaked across the goal line for his second touch down of the night, and the third for the Eagles. A two-point conversion failed. The score now stood at 20-0
With 39 seconds left in the first half, Coach Shaughnessy, or “Shag,” grabbed the boys in a time-out.
“Their coming loose inside,” he said, “stay with them.”
Meanwhile, Coach Shag’s daughter Casey was in the stands.
“I went to Albany high, so I feel bad for my alma mater but I am very excited for the Kennedy Eagles,” said Casey Shaughnessy. She also said that Coach Shag has been coaching since 1959, and joined the Eagles only a few years ago.
During Half time, Coach Carminer gathered the team on the far corner of the field.
“Don’t start freelancing and doing whatever you want to do.” said the Carminer. “This is a dog fight and we cannot let up, lets finish the job.”
In the stands, Sonya Herbert cheered and clapped for her son, 11th grader Jamiel Minor. It’s his first year on the team, and his mother couldn’t be happier.
“He used to be at home all the time, because Richmond is such a tough area,” said Herbert. Before sports, she said her son would just sit at home and play video games all day. Now, “he has lost about 15 pounds and he has made a lot of new friends.”
Albany started strong as the second half began, driving to the Eagles 20-yard line.
Assistant Coach Jason Brunell shouted, “Every time they try and catch you, punish somebody!” Reminding the team of “all that time in the weight room.”
The Cougars failed to advance and turned the ball over.
The Eagles drove the length of the field and McKinley scored. The third quarter ended with the score 28-0
Fourth Quarter was dominated by penalties, and controversy over what the Eagles thought was a missed call.
A facemask penalty was called against the Cougars, and on the next play, the Eagles felt they again should have received a penalty.
Coach Carminer ran out onto the field to argue with the referee. “I was under the impression if you execute a cut block, your supposed to engage with the top half of the player and work your way down,” said Carminer. “But I felt that center was just engaged at the bottom.” The referee didn’t budge, saying the play was legal.
The Eagles shrugged it off and pushed to the 8-yard line. Jacob Qualls, number 80 brought the ball in for another and final touch down. The game ended 36-0.
Following their second league win, Coach Carminer said, “in this league the field is wide open,” and hopes to continue this upward trend.
The players gathered on the field in a tight circle doing jumping jacks and spelling “K-E-N-N-E-D-Y,” before heading back to the bus.
The team made their way across the parking lot, cleats clicking across the pavement. Some players discussed the homecoming game next week against the Richmond Oilers. Others began singing inside the bus, “na, na, na, na, hey, hey, hey, goodbye.”