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Homecoming heartbreaker. Kennedy falls 48-44

on October 23, 2010

There was plenty of scoring and drama in last night’s game between the Kennedy Eagles and the John Swett Indians. But there was heartbreak, too, as the Eagles bid for a homecoming win came close, but failed to grab a last minute victory.

Having lost the homecoming game the year before, the Eagles (2-5) felt they had something to prove.

“It [homecoming] makes everything different—it makes us think more. It’s like what they [Swett] did to us last year; they destroyed us at their homecoming, now we’re trying to make it opposite and destroy them,” said #88, Wilvonte Bernstine.

The Indians (2-5) grabbed an early 7-0 lead with 6:08 left in the first quarter. But it didn’t take long for Eagles #10, Kenny Walker to run the ball  to the 20 yard line. Isaiah McClain ran it in from there for a touchdown.  With a two-point conversion on a running play by Walker,  the Eagles ended the first quarter ahead 8-7.

Second quarter, with 8:08 on the clock, the eagles were two down with one yard to go. #5, Charles Crane,  passed to #2, Rob Mulder, for a touchdown that’s finished off with a two-point conversion by Walker, lifting the score to 16-7, Eagles.

Kenny Walker, 10, scored two touchdowns in Friday night's homecoming game against John Swett High School. Rob Mulder, 2 (not pictured), scored three, and Isaiah McClain, 28 (not pictured) scored one.

“One dream, one team. Let’s make it happen tonight, baby!” shouted Eagles #11, Jose Rivera.

Turning back in Swett’s favor, with 5:21 left in the quarter, the Indian’s #4, Kyle Labroi scored a touchdown bringing the score to 16-13, Eagles.

“That touchdown’s a nothing,” said Eagles’ #15 Jeremy Dixon. “We just gotta maintain our composure.”

Near the end of the half there was an orgy of scoring, with both teams moving the ball at will.

With two minutes left in the half, the Indians surged into the lead after a 43-yard touchdown run.

The Eagles responded immediately.  Walker ran an 87-yard return with 1:57 left in the half, bringing the score to 22-20, Eagles. But as fast as they regained the lead, Swett countered with a swift 29-yard touchdown, ending the half with the Indians ahead 27-22.

“It don’t feel right,” said #81, Solomon Emerson. ”We should be winning this game.”

At halftime announcers presented the 2010 homcoming king and queen. This years winners were Sergio Cortez and Antonique Reed. (photo by Kamila McDonald)

At halftime, Kennedy high crowned their homecoming king and queen. This years winners are Sergio Cortez and Antonique Reed.

Meanwhile the team huddle got serious. “Our problem is we’re shootin’ ourselves in the foot,” defensive coach Allen Talley said.

“Let’s act like we’re football players,” said coach Byrd. “We stop ‘em on defense we’ll win this game. 27 points is too much.”

With that, the Eagles took to the field for the second half.  They came out strong, with a 56-yard touchdown run by Kenny Walker and a successful 2-point conversion bringing the score’s 30-27 Eagles.

It was touchdown ping-pong as Swett scored with 6:05 on the clock. Again, the Eagles responded- Mulder running a 65-yard touchdown and putting the Eagles ahead, 36-24.

3:15 left in the 3rd quarter, Walker ran the length of the field, but a holding penalty against Kennedy negated the score.

Coach Byrd calls the Eagles in for a timeout to delay the last minutes of the game and get everyone focused. Despite the large number of flags on plays, most against Kennedy, coach Byrd confronted a ref for not calling an illegal blocking foul. “It’s not about complaining, it’s about safety.” (photo by Kamila McDonald)

Walker pulled himself out of the game, Exhausted and having breathing trouble. A paramedic gave him oxygen. Principal Roxanne Brown-Garcia tried to keep the teams spirits up throughout the game but especially without Walker. “I got you, focus on the football, stay in the game!” she yelled.

But the Eagles scored another TD by Mulder. After the 2-point conversion They lengthened their lead 44-34.

“Fourth quarter, eagle quarter, our quarter!” shouted Rivera.

But an early Swett touchdown cut the Indian’s lead to three. Then things started to turn against the Eagles. With 5 minutes  left on the clock, the Indian’s Labroi ran a 79-yard touchdown. The Indians regained the lead 48-44.

The Eagles muscled through to the sixteenth yard line with 2:35 on the clock at 2nd and 2. McClain completed a pass from Crane but was pushed out of bounds at the 7-yard line. First and goal for the Eagles.

Coach Byrd called a time-out. After a brief huddle they’re back in the game and the clock ticked down.

James Dailey, 76, gets emotional after the game. “It’s a big game,” said Dailey. “This is more important than playoffs. This is important for the community and the school.” (photo by Kamila McDonald)

With just 1:28 left, the Eagles scratched out a yard. 3rd and goal.

After another running play failed, Byrd called a final time out before a decision 4th-down play.

The ref blew his whistle, the crowd let out a raucous cheer, and the ball was in play.

The Eagles tried to pass for the touchdown that would put them in the lead but it fell incomplete, unofficially signaling the end of the game.

Walker limped off the field and a few players on the sidelines begin to remove their helmets.

“Stay together, win or lose, we’re gonna lose with pride,” yelled Brown-Garcia.

Swett ran out the clock, and the game ended, 48-44, Indians.

Coach Byrd and the Eagles look back on the game, most were happy with the way they played, but wished the outcome would have been different. This game's loss puts the team at a 2-5 record overall. (photo by Kamila McDonald)

The players, noticeably upset but not defeated, kneeled around coach Byrd. “If you play your hardest and lose, I can’t say nothin’ to ya’. There’s nothing we can say, nothing we can do,” said Byrd.

For some, like senior Rob Mulder, this was their last chance at winning a high school homecoming game.

“Of the last four years we lost three times on homecoming. I’m a senior and was hoping to blow John Swett out. But we didn’t. It hurts real bad,” he said.

In earlier action, the Eagles JV team beat Swett, 45-0.

The Eagles face off next week against Albany (1-5), on Friday.


  1. Colleen Hayes on October 24, 2010 at 10:55 am

    Great article !

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