CEDAR RAPIDS — Fireworks were shot off with a little over two minutes to go in the third quarter Friday night at Kingston Stadium.
They actually were from next door at Veterans Memorial Stadium, as the Cedar Rapids Kernels celebrated their regular-season home finale with a win and a vigorous display of pyrotechnics that lit up the sky and filled the air with boom after boom.
It somehow seemed appropriate you could see and hear everything particularly well from the Cedar Rapids Kennedy sideline. The Cougars football team also gave everyone a vigorous display of offensive fireworks that lit up the scoreboard with touchdown over touchdown.
OK, kind of a corny story lead here, but Class 4A’s ninth-ranked team looked good on both sides of the ball in a 33-7 win over Linn-Mar. Cairron Hendred had 170 yards rushing and three TDs, running back mate Max White added 103 and two scores as Kennedy moved to 2-0.
Someone needs to come up with a nickname for the two. Hendred is a home run hitter who can score on any play, White a diminutive sophomore who runs hard, harder and hardest.
“I definitely think we complement each other,” White said. “I think like he’s the speed back, has the pure talent. I feel like I just kind of rely on my technique. It seems to have been working out.”
The son of head coach Brian White provided a turning-point play defensively late in the second quarter. Linn-Mar (0-2) was driving inside the Kennedy 20 in just a 13-0 game when quarterback Marcus Orr was sacked on fourth down and fumbled, defensive back White picking up the loose ball and running it back 70 yards for a scoop and score.
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“Turnovers really hurt us the first half,” said Linn-Mar Coach Paul James. “I thought we moved the ball at times, then what usually got in our way was ourselves, in terms of penalty, turnover, a mistake of some sort. You’ve got to give Kennedy a lot of credit. They are a very good football team. They are big, and they are physical, and we are trying to do things without a lot of size.”
Kennedy had an interception and two fumble recoveries in the first half.
“I don’t know if people are starting to notice, yet, but we really focus on getting turnovers,” Coach White said. “That is one of the biggest predictors of success, the turnover margin. Last week, we had four, and I don’t know how many we had tonight. We missed a few opportunities for interceptions, too. Just the speed and the way we fly around, I love playing defense like that. We are going to give up a pass play here and there, but I tell you what, you are going to pay for it because we’re bringing the house. The kids love that, like to play aggressive football.”
Orr threw for 240 yards on 15-of-33 passing, spreading out Kennedy with four wide receivers on virtually every play. Running back Alex Hess scored the only Linn-Mar touchdown on a 1-yard run late in the game.
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