Last week it was homecoming and another win for the Wildcats. The Cat polished off Castleberry 58-0 and pushed their record to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in District 6/4A.
This week, the Cats will play their second district opponent, the Eastern Hills Highlanders with the game time set for 7:00 pm Friday at Handley Stadium in Fort Worth.
The Highlanders are currently 2-2, 1-0. Last Thursday, Eastern Hills defeated district opponent Carter-Riverside (1-3) by a score of 31-20. Their other win came against Dallas Pinkston (0-5) by a score of 37-0 in the second week of the new season. Eastern Hills lost their first game during week one with a 36-0 shut-out by 5A Joshua (3-2). That loss was followed two weeks later to 4A Dallas Roosevelt (3-3) in a much closer game, 24-19.
Kennedale is currently ranked #13 (1up) by MaxPreps statewide in Class 4A. The Dallas Morning News has the Cats #5 in the area 4A/3A rankings – following Argyle (4-0), Celina (4-1), Melissa (3-2), and Midlothian Heritage (4-1).
THE DEFENSE HAS ALLOWED THE OFFENSE TO GAIN ITS FOOTING …
It is not unusual that a team’s defense comes together faster than the offense. This year for the Wildcats, the defense along with special teams has really shown progress. Their presence has been especially impressive in the most recent contests.
Kennedale’s defense totally dominated their opponents over the past two weeks. The Wildcats on Friday scored their second shutout of the season by keeping the Lions of Castleberry to negative yardage (-10 yards).
Against Wilmer-Hutchins a couple of weeks earlier, the Cats allowed just 43 yards (-13 by rush) during that 48-0 shutout victory. Besides choking the offense, the first two touchdowns for the Cats were made on blocked punts that were returned for TDs for the Wildcats.
This has lessened the pressure on the offense allowing the coaching staff to figure out what works. Last week the Wildcats, who in the past routinely put up 400 to 500+ yards in a game, topped 400 by 3.
GAME LEADERS …
EJ Higgins (SR) led with 143 yards on 7 carries and 2 TDs while Cameron Lyles (JR) collected 103 yards with just 3 carries plus 2 TDs. Demari Harrell-Jones (JR) scored on a 61-yard punt return. Also scoring with a touchdown each were Kenaj Washington (SR) and Paul Dockor (SR). Tyler Choice (JR) had an 81-yards on punt returns with a 40.4-yard average on 2 returns.
The team leader for the season in total yards is Dockor with 286 yards followed by Higgins with 263 yards.
On defense, Poasa Utu (SO) recorded a game-high of 9 tackles. Six of Utu’s tackles were for losses with one sack. RJ Pepper had 8 tackles with 2 for loss. Antoine Martin (SR) garnered 7 tackles with 4 for losses along with Jacorey Jackson (JR). Three players had four tackles – Braden Waters (SR) with 3 for loss, Chris Washington (SR) 2 for loss, Zach Conner (JR) with 1 for loss (sack).
Aiden Birr (Sr) was 9 for 9 on touchbacks on kickoffs and 7 for 7 on extra-point attempts. Travis Neyhart (SR) was 2 for 2 on extra-point conversions for 4 points.
One part of the Wildcat game that may be a cause of concern by the Kennedale coaching staff is the penalty situation. Through their first four games, the Cats have lost 325 yards on 34 penalties. This compared to the combined penalties of their opponents of 16 for a total of 145 yards. This means that through 4 games the Kats are averaging 8.5 flags while losing 81.2 yards per game. This is compared to an average of 4 penalties and 36.25 yards for their opponents over the same time period. Kennedale has always relied on aggressive play and this all may even out over the course of the season as players improve their individual skills.
MORE NOTES ON TONIGHT’s GAME …
Kennedale is the favorite this week against Eastern Hills. This will be only the second meeting of these two teams despite their close proximity. Fort Worth Eastern Hills has always been in a different classification until last year when the school was reassigned from 5A to 4A and into District 6/4A along with the Cats. Kennedale won the contest 50-0 last year.