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Eagles keep heads high despite big loss

on November 5, 2011

The Encinal Jets swept aside the Kennedy Eagles 55-22 Friday night. But even as the Eagles walked off the the field for what was for many their last ever home game, the team kept  their spirits high.

Wilvonte Berstine listens during the halftime huddle

Wilvonte Berstine listens during the halftime huddle. (photo by: Stacey Kenelly)

The game started out close.  Senior wide receiver Kenneth Walker scored a touchdown off a 3-yard pass from quarter back Octavious Holley. Going into the second quarter the the Eagles trailed just 7-8.

As Walker made a 90-yard run in the beginning of the second quarter, the stands chanted the graduating senior’s first name.

“I didn’t even know where I was going,” Walker said to his coach as he stepped off the field onto the sidelines.

But toward the middle of the second quarter the Eagles slipped.  One minute before halftime the Jets scored two touchdowns, securing a 35-8 lead. As the players reached the halftime huddle, the Eagles Head Coach Mack Carminer told players not to pout.

“For you seniors this is your last home game …The only thing beating us is us. Stop beating each other,” Carminer said.

Sophomore Jordan Whitley kneels during halftime

Sophomore Jordan Whitley kneels during halftime. (photo by: Stacey Kenelly)

In the second half, the team, again, started out strong.  Sophomore  Jordan Whitley scored off a 33-yard run early in the 3rd quarter.  Senior Ivan Bermejo  scored in a 4-yard run lifting the Eagles to 22 points.

Just seconds later Walker and junior Takkarist McKinley made an amazing tackle, sprinting from behind to take down a Jet nearing the 20-yard line.

Along the sidelines coaches looked at each other in wonder, “I would not want to be running from those two,” one coach said.

“I cannot wait for track season,” the other responded.

But the take downs and offense were not enough to keep pace with the Jets who, by the fourth quarter, led 42 to 22. Nearing the end of the fourth quarter, the Jets scored two more touchdowns.

As the Eagles gathered after the game, Walker stood in the middle of the group. “It ain’t over,” Walker said. “We could go 500.  I say come to practice on Monday. If we win, we go to the playoffs.”

Senior Omar Henderson looks over his shoulder as teammates congratulate him on a nice play. (photo by: Stacey Kenelly)

Carminer spoke to the team. “Keep your heads up,” he said. “We’re never going to have a loss and be happy about it. But fellas, we fought. We fought for four quarters. We made a lot of mistakes that we’ve got to correct in practice, but we fought.”

They put their hands together for a break. “Family on me. Family on three!” the Eagles shouted.

“At least we went out with a bang,” Ivan Bermejo said. “We kept our heads in it. We kept at it. We didn’t stop. We stuck together. … I have victory in my heart.”

“Plus,” he added, “Last year we lost 78 to 7, so 55 to 22 is not that bad.”

Next week  Kennedy faces off against Piedmont. If they win, they will qualify for the playoffs.

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