CEDAR RAPIDS - After placing fourth at the state wrestling meet last season, Cedar Rapids Kennedy had a few holes to fill.
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CEDAR RAPIDS – From battle to blowout.
Cedar Rapids Kennedy used an eight-minute stretch that sandwiched halftime to turn a one-possession game to one with a continuous clock.
The Cougars produced points from a clock-melting drive before the break and two quick touchdowns after it for a 52-7 victory over Cedar Rapids Jefferson in non-district competition Friday night at Kingston Stadium. The Cougars are 2-2, winning their second straight game.
Kennedy wasn’t satisfied with a 17-7 halftime lead, burning 4:58 off the clock and settling for Alex Stone’s 28-yard field goal with four seconds remaining in the first half.
“We just went in there (locker room) and said we were going to correct things and come back out to go to work,” Kennedy Coach Brian White said. “They took it upon themselves and realized they weren’t playing to their potential. We didn’t need to light that fire.”
Terrell Jordan provided the spark that swung momentum into the Cougars favor for good. He returned the opening kickoff of the third quarter to the J-Hawks’ 15. Four plays later Nick Duehr rushed for a 2-yard touchdown, making it 24-7.
Less than a minute later, Duehr scored another touchdown, hauling in a pass from Brian White Jr. for a 27-yard score and 31-7 advantage.
“The return was the ignition to our fire,” Duehr said. “We saw that and everybody jumped aboard and did great from there on out.”
Duehr has developed into a triple threat, running, receiving and passing the ball. His effectiveness was apparent during that stretch. He had more than 100 total yards, including 51 receiving and 38 rushing.
“I like going out wide sometimes,” said Duehr, who caught a short pass and reversed field during his touchdown reception. “Coach White lets me. I have some pretty good speed so when he throws me out there at running back and wide receiver it is fun.”
Rizaiha Maide provided two first-half scores to put the Cougars up 14-0 with 8:13 left in the second quarter. He scored on runs of 6 and 4 yards.
The first came on the opening drive. He took the handoff on a counter play and found the end zone untouched. The second was on an inside run, stretching the ball for the goal line while fighting through a tackle.
He finished with a team-high 105 rushing yards. The Cougars totaled 300 yards rushing. They are close to having a healthy and full stable of rushers at their disposal with a progressing offensive line.
“He’s a tough running back,” White said of Maide. “We have some running backs and we get a fullback back next week. We have some hard-nosed tough kids.”
The Cougars have allowed just one touchdown in the last eight quarters, outscoring opponents 94-7 the last two weeks.
“Our defense has played lights since Muscatine,” White said of the opening-week loss. “They knew they didn’t play well against Muscatine. They didn’t feel good about it.”
Jefferson (0-4) answered quickly after falling behind by two scores. Devonte Taylor provided a spark, returning a kickoff back to the Kennedy 45.
Myles Glassberg squirted through the Cougars for a 10-yard TD run, capping a three-play drive that included a 16-yard Dylan Hart run and 19-yard pass from Hart to Joshua Furrow. Jefferson closed the gap to 14-7 with 7:14 left in the second quarter.