CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The start of the prep football season has come with a bit of frustration for Cedar Rapids Kennedy.
The Cougars were winless entering the fourth week of play, but they worked out those frustrations, better yet, pounded out those frustrations on Dubuque Senior.
The Cougars suffocated the Rams offense and battering them on both sides of the ball for a lopsided 46-0 Mississippi Valley Conference victory Friday night at Kingston Stadium.
The Cougars (1-3) first three opponents entered Friday night with a combined 9-0 record. they proved they weren't a typical 0-3 team, pounding out nearly 400 rushing yards and holding Senior to just 20 yards of total offense.
"We knew we were a good team," Kennedy junior Trevor Heitland said. "We didn't think we needed to prove anything, but it's nice to get the win. We knew we were better than what we were playing lately, so it was good to come out and win."
The Kennedy defense dominated the game. The Cougars didn't allow a single first down, holding the Rams to -4 yards on the ground and -2 total after halftime. Senior (0-4) rushed 19 times, but managed only 18 yards.
"We knew we had to play to our ability and not theirs," Cougars linebacker Justin Sanford said. "That's what we did and felt pretty proud about it.
"Just play physical football. Play harder and stronger, tougher and faster than them up front. Just try to play more superior than they were."
The Cougars held Senior to just 25 total plays and seven of those were for loss. Only three plays were longer five yards or longer with two 9-yard plays being the Rams' highlight.
"I think we played excellent," Sanford said. "I think we played up to the goals we set for ourselves."
The offense jumped on the board early and often, taking advantage of great field position. The Cougars' worst starting field position was their own 44, except for a touchback on the opening kickoff of the second half, starting in Senior territory five times.
Kennedy Coach Tim Lewis said he saw improvement the last week that resulted in a close loss to Cedar Rapids Washington, which actually served as a bit of a springboard, especially defensively.
"A shutout and no first downs. It's pretty hard to beat that," Lewis said.
Kennedy wasted little time, taking the opening drive 55 yards capped by quarterback Jed Haycraft's sneak from a yard out for a 7-0 lead. Two possessions later, running back R.J. Adams ran around the left end, breaking a couple tackles as he scored on a 17-yard to put the Cougars up, 14-0, in the first.
Haycraft added two more touchdowns by the end of the half, connecting with Josh Jahlas for a touchdown on a 4th-and-17 play. Haycraft added another 1-yard sneak for a score, making it 26-0 with 16.4 seconds to go in the half.
The Cougars rushed for 396 yards and Haycraft finished with 89 overall, including 74 passing.
"Offensively, I was excited about the way we got things rolling," Lewis said. "We were able to run the ball. We did a lot of good things in our passing game. It was a good team win tonight."
Adams had big numbers, but Heitland powered the running game, especially in the second half running for 111 yards on his final three carries. He amassed 155 rushing yards, scoring on runs of 56 and 12 in the second half. The final one game as the buzzer signaled the end of the third, making the score, 46-0.
Heitland hadn't seen much action before tonight, but made the most out of his opportunity during his 11 carries. The coaches urged him to make it count.
"They had told me I was going to get some carries," Heitland said. "They said run hard and show us what you got."
Christian French scored the first touchdown of the second half, receiving an end-around handoff of the third play from scrimmage and darting 76 yards to make it 33-0.
"We thought we could probably run over them, pass and do what we wanted," Heitland said. "That's pretty much what we did. We ran the ball, had good blocking and had big holes and just ran hard."
Adams, who had 77 rushing yards with 69 before halftime, and Heitland, who Lewis described as deceptive in his running style, give the Cougars a strong combo.
"That gives us a good 1-2 punch with he and R.J.," Lewis said. "They're two totally different runners. R.J. is quick hitting the hole, more straight up-and-down and runs fast. With Trevor, we have that shiftiness and elusiveness."