CEDAR RAPIDS — It took a few drives to get going, but the Cedar Rapids Kennedy offense will be a load to handle this season.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Class 4A No. 9 Cougars piled up 288 rushing yards and fought off Cedar Rapids Jefferson, 21-10, in a non-district football game Friday night at Kingston Stadium.
“Our offensive line maybe started to wear on them a little bit just because we have got numbers,” Kennedy Coach Brian White said. “We have got guys that don’t have to play both ways. They do. That helped out. We have got some kids that can do some things.”
The offensive trio of quarterback Max White and tailbacks Brandtley Koske and Cairron Hendred did a lot of good things for Kennedy once the offense got its footing.
After Jefferson claimed a 7-0 lead just over a minute into the second quarter with a 36-yard TD run from its senior tailback Ezeki Leggins, the Cougars responded with a running attack of their own. Beginning at its own 27-yard-line, Koske moved the chains with runs of 21, five and 46 yards that gave the Cougars a 1st-and-goal at the Jefferson 1.
“We just needed a spark,” said Koske, who finished the game with eight carries and a team-high 113 yards. “It was mainly the upfront line. We got it going during the second quarter and they really did their thing. That is what it was.”
After the Kennedy defense forced Jefferson to punt on the ensuing drive, the Cougars marched 68 yards in 11 plays, highlighted by an acrobatic toss at the sideline from White to receiver Makhi Harris for 26 yards on 3rd and 7 at midfield.
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“It took a lot, but I began to trust myself,” said Max White, who finished the drive by eluding three would-be tacklers for a 7-yard rushing score. “I believe that I am athletic enough to get out there and make stuff happen with my arm or my feet.”
With a 14-7 halftime lead, Kennedy got the ball to start the second half and made it a two-score contest when Hendred sprinted 47 yards for a touchdown on 3rd and 23 yards to go.
Hendred finished with 81 yards on the ground, while White threw for 41 and ran for 70 with two touchdowns.
Leggins led the J-Hawks (0-1) with 63 rushing yards.
“They are a good football team,” Brian White said of Jefferson. “And I think if people don’t know that, they are going to know it soon. When they were growing up in eighth grade and Metro youth, they were always very solid in this class. We knew we were going to have our hands full.”
Neither team turned the ball over.
University of Iowa commit Connor Colby posted a sack for Kennedy.
AT KINGSTON STADIUM
Class 4A No. 9 Cedar Rapids Kennedy 21, Cedar Rapids Jefferson 10
Cedar Rapids Jefferson 0 7 3 0—10
Cedar Rapids Kennedy 0 14 7 0—21
CRJ — Ezeki Leggins 36 run (Jacob Cross kick)
CRK — Max White 1 run (Liam Wahe kick)
CRK — Max White 7 run (Liam Wahe kick)
CRK — Cairron Hendred 47 run (Liam Wahe kick)
CRJ — FG Jacob Cross 23
RUSHING — C.R. Jefferson: Ezeki Leggins 9-63, Jacob Thompson 9-20, Jacob Coyle 14-25, Gabe Coyle 1-2, Mason Long 1-(-12); C.R. Kennedy: Cairron Hendred 14-81, Max White 18-70, Max Drish 1-5, Brandtley Koske 8-113, Cade Parker 3-19.
PASSING — C.R. Jefferson: Jacob Coyle 4-11-0-43; C.R. Kennedy: Max White 4-7-0-41.
RECEIVING — C.R. Jefferson: Gabe Coyle 4-43; C.R. Kennedy: Max Drish 1-14, Makhi Harris 1-26, Cairron Hendred 1-1, Team 1-0.