MARION — Who let the dogs out? That would be Brian White, a bit belatedly.
“The first series, I out-thought myself,” said White, the Cedar Rapids Kennedy football coach. “We were going to play man, then we blew coverage.
“After that, we played Kennedy defense. We were going to blitz. We were going to Cover 3. We were going to let our athletes run.”
In other words ...
“We turned the dogs loose,” White said.
Class 4A ninth-ranked Kennedy spotted Linn-Mar a 7-0 lead, then held the Lions to 48 yards after the first series and romped to a 46-7 non-district triumph Friday night at Linn-Mar Stadium.
Cairron Hendred scored four touchdowns, Kennedy scored 25 points in a bizarre second quarter, and the Cougars set up a showdown with West Des Moines Valley — the likely No. 1 team next week after beating West Des Moines Dowling, 29-22 — next week at Kingston Stadium.
“That’s why we put them on the schedule,” White said. “Let’s line up and see what we can do.”
Added Nolan Jacobs: “We’ll try our hardest to give them heck.”
The Cougars (2-0) gave Linn-Mar plenty of that, and beat the Lions (1-1) for the fifth straight year.
Linn-Mar scored first on a sharp opening march, with Marcus Orr connecting with Trey Martin for a 26-yard touchdown pass.
“We got punched in the mouth a little there, but we pulled together and stuck it out,” Jacobs said. “Our defense migrated to the ball very well.”
Kennedy answered immediately with a nine-play, 80-yard march. Hendred did the honors with a 2-yard scoring scamper to knot the score at 7-7.
The second quarter was a Kennedy avalanche, highlighted by a blocked punt (the Cougars’ second of the game), a pair of safeties and 16-point barrage in 21 seconds. Jacobs blocked one of the punts and was in on one of the safety sacks.
With the Cougars up 14-7, Hendred scored on a 6-yard touchdown run.
After the ensuing kickoff, the snap on the Lions’ first play went over Orr’s head. He corralled it but was sacked for a safety.
Then Brandtley Koske gathered the ensuing free kick and scampered 70 yards for another touchdown.
In the blink of an eye, a competitive game suddenly wasn’t.
“We started off the way we wanted,” Lions Coach Paul James said. “But some things happened with our kicking game that caused some major problems.”
Kennedy ended the half on another sack of Orr for another safety, and took a 32-7 lead into the locker room despite a 3-0 disadvantage in turnovers.
Hendred rushed for 131 yards and quarterback Max White added 118 yards on the ground.
“We came prepared,” Hendred said. “They hit us early, and we knew we would have our hands full.”
Orr left the game — “The top of his shoulder is sore,” James said — and didn’t return.
The Lions are at Cedar Rapids Jefferson next Thursday.
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