MARION - Even through the disappointment of defeat, there is no denying the significant progress made by the Marion Indians.
After a winless 2015 season and 18-straight defeats, Marion leapt into the Class 3A playoff picture with five wins ... »
CEDAR RAPIDS — Arguably the best player in Cedar Rapids Kennedy football history roamed the Cougars sideline Friday night at Kingston Stadium.
Shaun Beyer did just about everything last season in helping Kennedy make it to the Class 4A state championship game. You couldn’t have blamed Cougars Coach Brian White for maybe trying to sneak the University of Iowa red-shirt into his team’s district opener against Burlington.
Not that he was needed. He wasn’t.
Kennedy scored five touchdowns each in the first and second quarters to put up 70 — yes, 70 — points in an eventual 77-13 victory. The point total is believed to be a school record.
There are mismatches, then there is this.
“It was crazy,” said Kennedy’s Ki Jenkins. “We just went out there and played our game. Coach told us we were going to run these four plays, and we’re going to execute them. We’re going to run it, we’re going to block it and get some yards. We have some athletes, and we knew what we needed to do.”
“We were just more focused on fixing some of the problems we’ve had in the past: being able to run the ball, O-line continuity, being able to throw the ball,” White said. “We really wanted to work on our pass game tonight. Doing those types of things, we felt like we would have the opportunity to move the ball a little bit. Watching them on film, they came in here with two wins, just like us. We thought we’d be in for a fight.”
Rizaiha Maide rushed for three TDs, Nick Duehr had two touchdown runs and a TD reception, and Jenkins had touchdowns on a reception and punt return. Throw defensive back Terrell Jordan’s Pick-6 and a Garrett Kubovec score, and there are your 10 first-half Cougars touchdowns.
Backup running back Larenzo Burnett scored on a 15-yard run to open the third quarter for Kennedy (3-2). Sophomore KeyShawn Allers had a game-high 128 yards in a reserve role.
The Cougars led, 14-0, less than four minutes in and without ever possessing the football. Once it did, it was unstoppable, with running backs meeting little to no resistance on any of their carries.
Give it up to an obviously improving line of Jackson Coker, Parker Maxwell, Austin Maus, Matt Murphy and James Vega. Kennedy finished with 458 yards rushing, averaging over 11 per run.
White intentionally took delay of game penalties in the final five minutes with his team inside the 10-yard line, so it wouldn’t score more.
“Our line is doing better,” Jenkins said. “We’re working hard, staying after it, doing more work. That’s what happens when you do more work.”
The Cougars rushed for a whopping 314 yards in the first half. Meanwhile, Burlington had 79 total yards.
Keep in mind, the Grayhounds’ lone touchdown came in the final minute of the second quarter when running back Tykel Gordon broke loose for an 82-yard TD. Burlington (2-3) did play without its regular quarterback and leading tackler, but they wouldn’t have made anything near a 70-point difference.
Kennedy plays next week at Linn-Mar. After a 21-0 shutout loss in Week 2 to Cedar Rapids Washington, the Cougars have amassed 171 points.
“I think that we’ve come together more as a family,” Jordan said. “We’ve come together as a band of brothers. That has helped a lot and contributed to this win.”
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