CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa Cedar Rapids Kennedy played another splendid defensive game.
But Bettendorf's defense was even better.
The fourth-ranked Bulldogs held Kennedy to 48 yards through the first three quarters and prevailed, 14-7, in a Class 4A quarterfinal football game Friday night at Kingston Stadium.
"Hats off to them," said Kennedy quarterback Jed Haycraft. "We tried to run, and it didn't work. We tried to pass, and we had some success, but it was just a little too late."
Bettendorf (12-0) will face No. 2 Iowa City High (12-0) in a semifinal at the UNI-Dome next Friday. The Little Hawks whipped No. 3 Cedar Falls, 49-28.
Kennedy saw a six-game winning streak come to an end and retired at 7-5.
"All we can do now is look back at the good things we've done (the past few weeks)," said Kennedy's Christian French. "You just have to take this for what it is and accept the loss."
This was the third straight low-scoring affair the Cougars endured. They beat Cedar Rapids Xavier and North Scott in the first two rounds by scores of 11-7 and 13-7.
Friday, the Cougars were on the short end.
"Our plan was to do what we do best, and that's run the football," said Kenneedy Coach Tim Lewis. "We made some blocking adjustments, but we just couldn't get anything going on a consistent basis. We tried to spread them out, but we ran out of time."
Bettendorf avenged a 17-14 loss to the Cougars in last year's first round.
"They're a faster team this year," Haycraft said. "Overall, they're just a better team."
Floundering offensively through the majority of the game, Kennedy got within 14-7 on Jed Haycraft's 49-yard pass to Jake Losch with 10:23 to go.
The Cougars got the ball two more times. One ended in a failed fake punt. The other ended with an interception.
The Bulldogs held Kennedy to 26 yards in the first half minus-3 on 15 running plays and led 7-0 at intermission.
Kennedy didn't collect a first down until the 6:35 mark of the second quarter, but made some clutch defensive plays to stay that close.
Bettendorf's Malique Hudson returned the opening kickoff 53 yards to the Kennedy 42, and the ball stayed in Cougars territory the entire the first quarter.
The Cougars stiffened on that first drive and forced a 45-yard field goal attempt, which Travis St. Ores pushed wide right.
Tom Dunlavy intercepted a pass by Jed Haycraft on the Cougars' third play. Bettendorf drove to the Kennedy 2, but the Cougars stuffed Justin Van Houtan on fourth-and-goal.
Bettendorf finally struck on its third possession, driving 42 yards in four plays. Blake Younkin capped it with a 3-yard scoring burst.
The Bulldogs appeared poised to score again after Younkin's 68-yard burst advanced the ball to the Kennedy 25. But two plays later, Christian French came from the right side and sacked Gage Ridenour and Ryan Sheldon recovered the fumble.
Kennedy is the No. 12 seed in the 4A East bracket, but the Cougars have won six straight games, including playoff wins over Cedar Rapids Xavier (11-7) and North Scott (13-7).
The Cougars upset Bettendorf in the first round (then substate) last year, 17-14.
Bettendorf has shutout playoff wins over Waterloo East and Dubuque Hempstead.
The winner faces No. 2 Iowa City High (11-0) or No. 3 Cedar Falls (11-0) in a semifinal next Friday at the UNI-Dome. The Little Hawks and the Tigers play tonight at Bates Field in Iowa City.