Kennedy collides with Encinal, loses 47-12
on November 6, 2010
The Kennedy Eagles’ record dropped to 3-6 after a jumbled performance against the Encinal Jets Friday night.
The Eagles came into the game riding a wave of energy after last week’s trouncing of the Albany Cougars, 54-13. But this week’s odds were stacked against Kennedy from the kickoff. Encinal is closing in on a nearly perfect season, and after watching them play on Friday, it was obvious why.
“They take advantage of people’s mistakes and they execute,” Kennedy’s Coach Byrd said of the Alameda squad. “That’s what makes that team so special.”
The Jets put a quick seven points on the board after scoring on the game’s opening drive.
Kennedy was poised to respond after Robert Mulder, 2, took a double-reverse for over 20 yards up the right sideline. But then Kennedy’s blocking fell apart and with it the team’s running game.
“You guys aren’t blocking! You gotta hold on to your blocks!,” Assistant Coach Dan Shaughnessy screamed from the side.
The Eagles struggled to get anything going on offense. After a quick three-and-out drive, Kennedy punted away to the Jets. Encinal’s star running back, Jonathan Allen, 32, took a handoff and ran over 50 yards for the Jets’ second touchdown of the night.
The game looked like it might be heading for a blowout after Encinal recovered its own kickoff on Kennedy’s 27-yard line. But the Eagles’ defense stepped up where its offense and special teams hadn’t. Francisco Espino, 52, crushed the Jets’ quarterback and forced a fumble which Mulder, 2, recovered and ran 64-yards for the Eagles first points of the game.
The Eagles failed to convert on the point after touchdown.
After a lackluster start, it looked like Kennedy might head into the half only down by nine points (15-6). But the Jets scored two more touchdowns off Kennedy mistakes before the half, pushing their lead to 22 points (28-6).
During halftime, the Eagles didn’t wait for their coaches to rip into their play. “We was not coached like this!,” said Kennedy quarterback Myron Skinner, 4. “So why are we playing like this?”
Despite some adjustments to the Eagles’ defense, the second half looked much like the first. Time and again, Encinal’s running back, Jonathan Allen, burst through the gaps in Kennedy’s defense and gained big yardage.
Coach Byrd — never one to hide his frustration — turned to his staff with a look of disbelief. “Man we make some stupid mistakes!,” he said.
In the end, it was those mistakes that made the difference. The game ended with a final score of 47-12.
That said, Kennedy’s three convincing wins this season over El Cerrito, Albany and Richmond High showed the team has the talent, coaching and drive to make any other team think twice if they’re expecting an easy win against the Eagles.
With Friday’s loss, so too are Kennedy’s hopes of finishing the season at .500. But after barely finishing half a season last year before having to forfeit the rest, just getting to the end is an accomplishment.
“Here’s the bottom line guys,” Coach Byrd said to his players after the game. “You played hard. And when you play hard like I told you, you never really lose.”
For the first time this season everyone was eligible to play in the game; no one discounted because of grades.
Coach Byrd told his players to keep their heads up and reminded them how far they’ve come and how much further they can go. “Next year, it’s going to be a different story,” he said. “Do you feel how we’ve come together as a team this season? That’s why we’re going to be a better team next year.”
The Eagles will play their season finale against Piedmont next Saturday. Kickoff is set for 1:30 at Kennedy High.
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