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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Cats strike back in last half to win 34-27 against Rider

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Last Friday night at Wildcat Stadium, Kennedale (2-1) came from 20-3 down at the beginning of the third, to win a non-conference game against 5A Wichita Falls Rider High School (1-3). {{more:Read more … }}
Head Coach Richard Barrett (Photo: Staci Otts)

Kennedale games this season have been fun to watch if you like roller coasters. Friday night?s game was another version of “lets pack it up boys .. no wait .. yeah its over .. no, it isn?” Head Coach Barrett?s beard just keeps getting grayer.

Kennedale?s offense welcomed running back D.J. Kirven (So) off the injury list and he responded with 228 yards at 10.4 yards a pop (longest was 50 yards) and 1 TD. He helped to spark a 31 point second half surge that left Rider dazed and confused on a long bus ride back home.
but it was the play of the defense …
But it was the play of the defense that saved the day for the Cats. For the game, the defense kept the Raiders bottled up in the second half and gave the ball back to the Cats offense with excellent field position. In eight possessions in the 2nd half the Raiders went 3 and out four times, 4 and out once and fumbled after two plays on another possession. On those six series, the Raider gained a total of 25 yards. With the help of the defense, the Cats offense started scoring drives on the Rider 26, Rider 37, Kennedale 42 and the Rider 33.
Leading in tackles was Baron Browning (Sr) with 10 followed by Andrew Flanagan (Jr) 7, Damian Watts (Sr) 6, Devan Mason (Jr) 5 and Kade Stephenson (So) 5. Stephenson also recovered a fumble that Avion Jenkins (Jr) caused.
On offense besides Kirven, Jaden Knowles (Jr) plowed up 105 yards on the ground (longest 23 yards) with 2 TDs. He averaged 7 yards a carry. Knowles also added 24 yards on kick-off returns. Larry Brooks (Jr) had 62 yard on a kick-off. Kennedale attempted 4 passes with Aaron Rinehart (Sr) 1-2 and 13 yards and Evan Jowers (So)1-3 and 15 yards.
For the game kicker Kevin Tiero (Jr) had 10 points, going 2-2 on field goals (longest 45 yards) and 4/4 on extra-point kicks.
On the down side, Kennedale fumbled and lost 3 times while Rider went 1-1 in fumbles.
Game story …
Q1 ? It was a scoreless quarter with Rider?s best drive lasting 6 plays and a punt. On two other series, Rider turned it over on downs and went 3 and out on another. Kennedale had a very promising 7 play drive end with a fumble on the R24 yard line. It was fueled by a 50 yard Kirven run. The Cats went 3 and out in their first effort.
Q2 ? Kennedale started with excellent field position (R32) but could only manage a Tiero field goal to earn the first score of the game and their only points for the half. Kennedale had three other possessions for the quarter that ended with a 3 and out, a lost fumble on the K25 and a five play drive that was capped with a punt.
Rider scored the first touchdown with a 77 yard run by QB Willie Cherry making it 7-3 after the extra point. Rider scored again after the gift of the Kennedale fumble at the K23, going the 23 yards in 6 plays. Anticipating a close game, the Rider staff called for a 2 point conversion attempt which failed, leaving the score at halftime 13-3.
Half Stats – RHS 147yds, 3-9 pass 16 yds, 7.7 yds per rush, penalties 4-23: Cats 113yds, 0-3 pass, 5.4 yards per rush, penalties 2-25, turnover 2 Score RHS 13-3
Q3 ? Kennedale started the last half with the ball but the drive was stalled after 4 plays and a 15 yard penalty against the Cats. Rider responded with what seemed to the final touches on the Wildcats hopes with a 62 touchdown drive that was capped by a 45 yard run by Rider?s Bryce Hughes. With the kick, Rider led 20-3 early in the 3rd quarter. Unexpectedly to all in the stadium, that would be all the scoring that Rider would do until late in the 4th while Kennedale went on a 31 points scoring spree.
Kennedale scored next after Jaden Knowles returned the kick-off 27 yards and a 15 yard Rider penalty was tacked on the end giving Kennedale the ball at the Rider 26 yard line. Kirven went the final 26 yards in two plays to close the gap to 20-10 after the extra point kick. The Cats defense stepped up and stopped the Riders in 4 plays forcing a punt on a 4th and 14 from their 21.
After a 5 yard return, Kennedale took over at the K50 and again helped with a 15 yard penalty on Rider, the Cats cover the remaining 35 yards 5 plays alternating between runs by Kirven and Knowles. And with the touchdown and extra point kick, Kennedale was very much in the game and in the moment.
The Cats defense double parked on the Rider?s offense and forced a quick 3 and out. The Raiders punted from their 25 and Kennedale was able to get the ball back at the K42. Aaron Rinehart completed a 13 yard pass to Knowles. Kirven picked up 44 yards in two plays and Rinehart took it over from the 1 yard line and the Cats were back in the lead at 24-20 with another Tiero kick (PAT) as the 3rd quarter ended.
Q4 – Still parked on the offensive line of the Raiders, the Cats defense got another 3 and out and Rider kicked from their 17 on a pressured punt for just 26 yards. The Cats took over on the Raiders? 41 yard line. Hurt by a 10 yard penalty, the Cats were forced to kick a 34 yard field goal from the R17 on a 4th and 12. Tiero?s kick was good and the Cats extended their lead to 27-20.
For the third time in a row the Cats strangled the Raiders, allowing minus one yard in 3 plays and Rider punted to the K40 but with a 27 yard return by Brooks the Cats started at R33. Kennedale scored a touchdown in 2 plays on a 10 yard run by Kirven and a 23 yarder by Knowles who carried the ball over for the TD. The score was now 34-20 with another Tiero point after kick.
When the Cats defense got their fourth 3 and out, it seemed that the game was Kennedale?s. But Kennedale fumbled on their next possession while driving the ball deep into Rider territory and the Raiders had the ball back at the R32.
The Cats defense seemed to have their 5 straight Rider drive in 3 plays at the R28 but a Cats 15 yard personal foul call gave the Raiders new life. Rider scored 3 plays later on a Jorge Vargas 40 yard pass D?Tayveon Peterson. The kick was good and the gap was now seven points at 34-27 Kennedale with just under 2 minutes left in the game.
Rider covered their onside kick and got one last chance to tie or win the game. But under pressure from the Cats defense the Raiders? Vargas coughed up the ball on the KD 44 after Vargas had just passed for 12 yards to Aaron Miller. The Cats recovered the ball and ran out the clock to secure the win.

Graphics by KHS AV
Kennedale, this Friday, travels to play another 5A team, Whitehouse Wildcats (3-1). Game time is 7:30 p.m. Whitehouse is approximately 2 hours southeast of Kennedale. Directions

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