116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids Kennedy focused on its rush attack this week in practice.
The Cougars struggled at times running the ball this season and needed that phase of the game to advance in the postseason.
The work paid dividends — 278 yards worth.
Jazan Williams scored two first-half touchdowns in consecutive possessions to help top-ranked Kennedy defeat Dubuque Senior, 23-9, in a Class 5A first-round playoff game Friday night at Kingston Stadium. The Cougars improve to 10-0 and host No. 7 Iowa City High (9-1) next week.
“Playoff teams have to be able to run the ball,” Kennedy Coach Brian White said. “If you can’t run the ball, it’s going to be tough going. We put an emphasis on being able to run the ball.
“Running the ball was really good. I’m really happy with our rush offense.”
Williams rushed for 118 of his 206 yards before the break. His two scores came less than four minutes apart to give Kennedy a 13-3 halftime advantage.
“We kept exploding off the line and I kept driving my legs, trying to extend plays as much as I could,” he said.
His first score capped an 80-yard drive, consisting of 11 plays. He burst through the line for an 8-yard TD run for a 7-3 lead with 8:51 left in the second quarter.
The Cougars’ next drive started at the Senior 45. Two plays later, Williams bolted down the center of the field, breaking to the near sideline for a 43-yard scoring jaunt for his 12th TD of the season.
“I knew if I broke one tackle and it was off to the races,” Williams said. “I was good.
“I broke the first tackle and saw the open field. I thought, ‘I got this.’”
Senior produced the first points of the game. The Rams drove to the Kennedy 27 and Kyle Konrardy connected on a 44-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead with 5:43 left in the first quarter.
Alex Koch added 72 yards for Kennedy. He added a 32-yard TD run with 10:29 left in the fourth. Hayden Klett’s conversion run increased the Cougars’ lead to 21-3.
Jack Aitchison scored on a 5-yard run for Senior’s only TD, capping a 65-yard, 10-play drive with 6:14 left. Aitchison finished with 94 yards rushing. Senior’s Jack Gilligan threw for 134 yards.
The Cougars bent but didn’t break, limiting one of 5A’s most productive offenses to one touchdown. They even added a safety late.
“Our defense goes out there and works as one,” Kennedy linebacker Dylan Davis said. “We figured some stuff out. We stopped the run and our defensive backs were on lock down. It was over from there.”
Senior finishes the season at 5-5.
AT KINGSTON STADIUM
First Downs 16 14
Rushes-Yds 38-167 41-278
Pass Yds 134 74
Comp-Att-Int 17-34-0 7-17-1
Total Yds 301 352
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 0-0
Punts-Avg. 5-42.2 5-32.8
Penalties-Yds 10-67 4-39
Dubuque Senior 3 0 0 6—9
C.R. Kennedy 0 13 0 10—23
RUSHING – Dubuque Senior: Jack Aitchison 12-94, Tommy Williams 10-58, Jack Gilligan 14-20, Team 2-(-5). C.R. Kennedy: Jazan Williams 31-206, Alex Koch 6-72, Carson Blietz 4-0.
PASSING – Dubuque Senior: Gilligan 17-34-0-134. C.R. Kennedy: Blietz 7-17-1-74.
RECEIVING – Dubuque Senior: Hayden Francois 5-49, Williams 4-23, Landon Sauser 4-23, Joel Wilbricht 2-20, Aitchison 2-19. C.R. Kennedy: Brenden Linde 2-40, Jeron Senters 3-29, Colin Flannagan 2-5.
DS – FG Kyle Konrardy 44
CRK – Williams 8 run (Luke Bradley kick)
CRK – Williams 43 run (rush failed)
CRK – Koch 32 run (Hayden Klett rush)
DS – Aitchison 5 run (Rush failed)
CRK – Team safety