116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Brenden Linde stopped playing football as a youth.
The Cedar Rapids Kennedy senior has been a standout high jumper, qualifying for the Drake Relays, but he has been absent from the Cougars’ football field.
Until this year, when peers and a phone call from Kennedy Coach Brian White changed his mind.
“A bunch of friends talked me into coming out this year,” Linde said. “I didn’t even think I’d play at all.”
Linde was a big target for Class 5A fourth-ranked Kennedy quarterback Carson Blietz, hauling in three touchdowns in a 48-7 rout 4A No. 3 Cedar Rapids Washington Friday night at Kingston Stadium.
“A great effort on his part,” White said. “We had some new wrinkles we wanted to throw out there and part of it was our tight end Linde and getting him more involved in the game plan.
“We executed. The big long touchdown pass was a play we just put in this week.”
Linde didn’t catch a pass in the first two weeks. He was called on more during the week in practice. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder was ready for action.
“We just kept adding more and more plays for me against Washington,” Linde said about the weekly preparation. “I was getting really excited for the game this week.”
The Warriors (2-1) scored on their first possession. Miles Thompson started left, reversed field and dove for the pylon for a 16-yard touchdown and 7-0 lead with 6:30 left in the first quarter.
“The first series was not pretty for us,” White said. “We knew they would run the ball and we didn’t take care of business, especially with the fullback.
“From that point forward, I think we righted the ship and played a lot better defense.”
The rest of the game was all Kennedy.
Kennedy (3-0) answered with a 59-yard scoring drive. The Cougars converted two key fourth downs, including a TD pass from Carson Blietz to Michael Mulherin on fourth-and-5 from the Warriors' 23.
Linde made his presence felt, catching a 10-yard pass and a two-point conversion to give the Cougars a 14-7 lead with 8:10 left in the second quarter.
Washington pressed to score before the half but that was spoiled by Dominic Mann’s 52-yard interception return for a score and 20-7 halftime lead.
Blietz and Linde connected two more times in the third quarter. Blietz hit Linde in stride for a 53-yard scoring strike and 27-7 lead after Kennedy’s first possession of the second half.
“With Carson, you can always rely on him to give you a good ball,” Linde said.
They combined for a 10-yard pass for a 34-7 lead with 4:46 to go in the third. They exploited Washington’s coverage over the middle.
“We saw their weakness,” Linde said. “We just attacked it.”
Blietz passed for 162 yards and four touchdowns. Linde had 111 receiving yards on seven receptions.
Jazan Williams added a 2-yard TD run in the fourth. Williams finished with a game-high 84 rushing yards. Kennedy amassed 348 total offensive yards.
The Cougars defense stifled the Warriors. None of Washington’s drives were longer than six plays. Three possession were three-and-outs that resulted in no yards. Kennedy forced eight punts, holding the Warriors to 167 total yards.
Kennedy entered the game with five turnovers and added three interceptions to its season total.
“We’re kind of a high-risk, high-reward defense,” White said. “Sometimes we’re going to give up some big plays. We gave up a big run to (Watts McBride). We didn’t panic. Our kids started flying around and making plays. You have to have playmakers on defense, too.”
McBride led Washington with 99 total yards, consisting of 83 on the ground and 16 receiving.
AT KINGSTON STADIUM
First Downs 15 7
Rushes-Yds 39-186 27-137
Pass Yds 162 30
Comp-Att-Int 11-19-0 6-18-3
Total Yds 348 167
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 0-0
Punts-Avg. 4-34.7 8-26.7
Penalties-Yds 3-30 5-48
C.R. Kennedy 6 14 14 14—48
C.R. Washington 7 0 0 0— 7
RUSHING – C.R. Kennedy: Jazan Williams 25-84, Colin Flannagan 2-36, Luke Bradley 1-22, Jeron Senters 1-18, Rashon Jennings 4-15, Carson Blietz 4-10, Karon Elmore 1-0. C.R. Washington: Watts McBride 4-83, Miles Thompson 11-35, Reid Ortiz 9-11, Brisahn Fields 1-5, Chase Mahoney 1-4, Team 1-(-1).
PASSING – C.R. Kennedy: Blietz 11-19-0-162. C.R. Washington: Ortiz 6-17-3-30.
RECEIVING – C.R. Kennedy: Brenden Linde 7-111, Senters 3-28, Michael Mulherin 1-23. C.R. Washington: McBride 2-16, Michael Blank 1-8, Jaden Harris 3-6.
CRW – Miles Thompson 16 run (Zach Nocak kick)
CRK – Michael Mulherin 23 pass from Carson Blietz (kick failed)
CRK – Brenden Linde 10 pass from Blietz (Blietz to Linde pass)
CRK – Dominic Mann 52 interception return (kick failed)
CRK – Linde 53 pass from Blietz (Luke Bradley kick)
CRK – Linde 10 pass from Blietz (Bradley kick)
CRK – Jazan Williams 2 run (Bradley kick)
CRK – Blietz 1 run (Bradley kick)