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Thursday, December 8, 2022

A Legacy that is growing ?

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Recently Kennedale was named a top five 4A ?Legacy? football team because of its performance over the last five years. Beginning in 2014 Kennedale had back to back undefeated regular seasons at 12-1-0 and the five years included two region finishes, one state semifinal finish and one state final finish. {{more: continue ?}}
A look back at Kennedale football ? 62 years ?
The Class of 1957 were the first true seniors to graduate from Kennedale. Previously, Kennedale offered classes only through 10th grade.
The senior class of 1957 consisted of eight members. These were Billy Cappers, Jerry Cooper, Kenneth Daugherty, Arnold Hennesay, William Kirkpatrick, Jo Anne Ledbetter, Patsy Pearce and Bobbie Townsend. Griff Hughes was principal and football coach.
First season: 4-6-0 ?
It was also the first year Kennedale played in a district and competed for a title as a full varsity team. In their first season Kennedale High School won four out of ten games. There were 18 members on the team.
The first varsity team was composed of Arlie Stanley (JR), Kenneth Daugherty (SR), Joe Conlin (JR), Donald Randall (JR), Wilbur Stanley (SO), George Tolliver (Manager), Thomas Townsend (Manager), Teddy Patterson (SO), Mark Rankey (FR), Glenn Roberts (JR), ?Speedy? Kirkpatrick (SR), Wayne Loflin (SO), Jimmy Dunn (FR), Buddy Savage (JR), Phillip Miller (JR), Charles Randall (JR), Gilbert Gray (FR), Sandy Cooper (FR), Tommy Robbins (SO), and Don Johnson (FR). The assistant coach was Alvin Payne who was also the school?s shop teacher.
Griff Hughes was the coach. He would stay three years and the Kats, as they were known then, won 8 games out of 21.
First taste of success ?
Bob Leach was named as head coach for the 1961 season and stayed through the 1965 season. He brought the Kats their first taste of winning ball. The Leach led teams had two seasons of 4-5-1 records that bookended a 5-4-1 and a 6-4-0 season.
Coaching revolving door ?
Coaches came and went on a fairly regular basis for the Kennedale Kats. There would be 14 coaches prior to the present day coach, Richard Barrett.
Outside of Leach, who was at Kennedale for 5 years, the rest were two or three years and out. A few stayed only a year. Kennedale coaches included 1956-58 David Griff Hughes 3yrs, 1959 Walter Worthington 1 yr, 1960 J.D. Smith 1 yr, 1961-65 Bobby Leach 5 yrs, 1966-67 Larry Fletcher 2 yrs, 1968-69 Jerry Kirby 2yrs, 1970-71 Bob Durham 2 yrs, 1972 Larry Hefley, 1973-75 Lewis Harris 3 yrs, and 1976-77 Dorman Riddles.?

The 1985-86 Wildcats went 10-2 under

Coach Dan Yokely, the best record up to that time for Kennedale.

Robert Swain, a popular coach who was at KHS in 1978-80, ushered in Kennedale?s first long term coach, Danny Yokely. Yokely stayed 10 years and gave Kennedale fans seasons of 6-4 (2x), 7-4, 8-3 (2x) and a 10-2 season that saw the Wildcats capture their first district title. The Cats would repeat as district champs one more time during his tenure and the Wildcats made the playoffs 4 times. (Note: Richard Barrett was on his staff. Mark Biondi, who just retired as KISD Associate Superintendent, joined a year later).
The years 1991-2001 …?

Dan Smalley followed after Yokely left after the 1990 season to become head coach for Everman where he lived and where he was an assistant coach prior to Kennedale. Smalley struggled to repeat Yokely?s success. The Cats did finish second in district in 1993 and earned a playoff spot, finishing at 5-6-0. Smalley stayed four years but was replaced for the 1995 season by Tim Stout.
Tim Stout was at Kennedale six somewhat controversial years. He inherited one of the best teams Kennedale had ever had up to that date as juniors and sophomores in 1995 – with apologies to the 1985 10-2 team. One year later that team soared to a 11-1-1 record and Kennedale?s earned their third district championship along with Kennedale?s first undefeated regular season which included a regular season tie.
Stout had two losing seasons out of six and could not repeat his early success. (Note: another coach came in with Stout and never left, Paul Trantham, the current head coach for Wildcat Baseball and assistant football coach).

Stout?s last season of 7-4, however, helped usher in a new era at Kennedale where the Wildcats are now a recognized powerhouse in their division in Texas. It also coincides with the return of a former assistant football coach, who has become Kennedale High School?s most successful and longest serving head coach at 18 seasons and counting, Richard Barrett.
A legacy starts ?
Consider that during Barrett’s tenure:
  • The Wildcats lost just 6 games in his first four seasons, going 12-2-0, 10-2-0, 12-2-0 and 7-2-0.?
  • Barrett coached teams have captured 11 district titles (three shared).
  • Kennedale currently has a string of 7 straight district titles and are looking for number 8 this season.?
  • The Cats are 39-0 in district games dating back to 2012.
  • The Wildcats have never missed a playoff in 18 years.?
  • Kennedale has never recorded a losing season under Barrett.?
  • The Cats have never finished lowered than third in district play and that was only once.?
  • Barrett teams had been undefeated twice during the regular season – in 2014 and 2015.?

For the first time in school history,

the 2017 Wildcats under Coach Barrett made it into the UIL state playoff? finals before

losing out.

  • During the Barrett era, teams have finished the playoffs in Bi-district twice (2004, 2007), Area 6 times (2002, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2018), Region six times (2001, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2014, 2015), State Quarterfinals (2003 in OT, 2005), State Semifinals once (2016) and State Finals (2017). ??
  • Among active coaches, Barrett is ranked #13 in the state with 212 wins and is still going.?
This is a remarkable record that is a tribute to the players, the coaches over those same years and to Richard Barrett, Head Coach and Athletic Director.
?When you are still enjoying what you are doing,? said Coach Barrett, ?why stop??

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