CEDAR RAPIDS — They blocked and tackled. They rocked and rolled. They dominated and advanced.
Simply superior on both sides of the ball, fifth-ranked Cedar Rapids Kennedy smashed Fort Dodge, 63-6, in a Class 4A first-round playoff football game Friday night at Kingston Stadium.
“It starts with our offensive line,” Kennedy Coach Brian White said. “And on defense ... our kids play fast. November’s a whole different time, and you’ve got to play at a different speed.”
If the Cougars (9-1) were happy as the clock wound down, they were exuberant afterward. They’ll be back at Kingston next week to face Urbandale, a 29-28 upset winner over No. 4 Ankeny Centennial. Urbandale (7-3) scored a touchdown and a two-point conversion with 16 seconds left Friday.
“I’m so thankful to be back at Kingston one more time,” said quarterback Max White, who ran for four short touchdowns.
Kennedy owned the line play, both offensively and defensively. The Cougars racked up 399 rushing yards — 321 in the first half — and posted a 438-75 advantage in total yardage.
Nolan Jacobs blocked a punt and got some time at fullback, but neither of those were his highlight Friday.
“It was just a fun time being out there with the boys on defense,” he said.
Fort Dodge (6-4) was held to minus-19 yards rushing on 16 carries. Four sacks were a big factor. Kennedy also forced four turnovers.
Cairron Hendred, who missed the last two games with an ankle sprain, returned Friday and got the Cougars on the board with a 36-yard touchdown run. He amassed 84 yards on eight carries early, then re-injured the ankle and didn’t return.
“We’re a little dinged up,” Coach White said. “Cairron was looking like he was 100 percent before he got hurt. He said that he didn’t think it was as bad this time as last time.
“But with a kid like (Brandtley) Koske behind him, we’re not hurting for playmakers.”
Koske took over as the featured back and ran for 149 yards on 14 carries, including touchdown runs of 13 and 21 yards.
“It starts in practice and translates to the game,” Koske said. “The guys up front did a great job.”
Kennedy led 28-6 with about a minute left in the first half, when the Dodgers took three timeouts trying to draw the Cougars offside on fourth-and-1 at the Fort Dodge 29.
The Cougars didn’t budge, and when the Dodgers finally punted, Jacobs shot through the line and blocked it. Two plays later, White scored from 1 yard out with 23 seconds left.
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On the ensuing kickoff, the Dodgers stayed away from a live ball as it dribbled toward the goal line. Kennedy’s Jake Vander Sanden recovered it at the 2-yard line, then White scored again on the next play. It was 42-6 at halftime, and the entire second half was contested under the continuous clock.
Kennedy placekicker Liam Wahe converted all nine of his PAT attempts Friday, running his total to 56-of-56 this season.
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