The Kennedy football teams season came to a jarring halt after the team was eliminated from the playoffs in a 33-7 first-round loss to the visiting Oakland Warriors Friday night.
The No. 7 Trojans (6-4, 4-1 Tri-River) entered the game on a five-game win streak, including four games in which the team scored at least 49 points. But without three of the teams top offensive options, Kennedy had a difficult time mustering any points and were held scoreless in the first half against an energized Oakland team.
Prior to the game, Kennedy seniors Ty Sawyer, Sam Moreno and Wyatt Rodriguez were suspended from play, leaving the Trojans without their top running back and two of the teams best receivers. The three athletes were also key contributors on the defensive side of the ball, and in their absence, Oakland was able to outgain Kennedy 378 yards to 140.
Coach Randy Traeger deferred questions to Kennedy Athletic Director Kevin Moffatt, who chose not to comment on the details of the suspensions.
Sometimes we gain ground, sometimes we lose ground, said Traeger in an email. The end of our 2013 season we lost some ground. We are re-grouping to put on a push to take that ground back.
The Trojans fell behind early in the game when Oakland connected on a 45-yard pass six minutes into the first quarter. On the ensuing point-after attempt, senior lineman Daniel Glaede got his hands on the kick, holding Oaklands lead to 6-0.
Kennedy attempted to push forward with the teams power-run offense that has yielded positive results throughout the season, but the team had difficulty punching a hole in the Warrior defense and could only muster 22 yards on 25 carries throughout the course of the game.
After trading possessions, Oakland scored once again on a 25-yard pass mid-way through the second quarter to go up 12-0. The Warriors attempted a two-point conversion on the following play, but the Trojan defense held strong and denied the attempt.
Neither team scored for the remaining five minutes of the quarter, and Kennedy went into the half trailing by a dozen points.
The second half was more of the same, as Oakland scored twice more to take a 26-0 lead. Kennedy got on the board on the final play of the third quarter, as Noah Giberson connected on a 32-yard touchdown pass to Blake Traeger. Carl Hesse kicked the point-after through the uprights to pull the team to within 26-7, but thats as close as the team got the rest of the way.
Oakland scored with 25 seconds left in the game to cap the loss.
Offensively, Traeger led the team with five catches for 115 yards, including his third-quarter touchdown pass. Giberson was under pressure throughout the contest and finished completing six of 20 passes for 118 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Senior Cole Galtes led the team in rushing attempts, picking up 21 yards on 11 carries.
Defensively, the Trojans were led by Dylan Arritolas team-high 10 tackles. A.J. Sisson added five tackles and a sack, while Kyle Manning had three tackles and a fumble recovery.
The loss marked the first time since 2008 that the Trojans failed to qualify for the quarterfinals of the state tournament.