IOWA CITY, Iowa - Friday night could have been a potential let down for the Iowa City High football team.
They welcomed Cedar Rapids Kennedy one week after toppling an undefeated ranked foe and one week before another showdown with an unbeaten opponent in Class 4A's top 10.
The third-ranked Little Hawks weren't caught off guard at all, handling the Cougars, 21-0, in a Mississippi Valley Conference football game at Bates Field.
City High improved to 5-0, extending its win streak to 19 games. Kennedy entered the game with a 1-3 record but the Little hawks were aware of the tough foes the Cougars had faced and knew they were in for a battle.
"I was very concerned because Kennedy has a very good ballclub," City High Coach Dan Sabers said. "They played a brutal schedule so far. We know they have good people out there."
Senior quarterback Andrew McNulty said the Cougars are always tough to play. The team was fully aware there is no week off in the MVC, even between games against Cedar Rapids Xavier and Cedar Rapids Washington, which hosts City High on Thursday at Kingston Stadium.
"Next week we have a big one," McNulty said. "Last week was obviously a huge game, but this game was nothing look over."
The Little Hawks pounced on a pair of Kennedy miscues in the first half to take control. After Kennedy stopped City High's first two drives with a Jacob Losch interception in the red zone and a punt, the Little Hawks recovered a fumble by Kennedy quarterback Jed Haycraft on the Kennedy 13. Ronald Thompson ran in from three yards out four plays later to put City High up 7-0.
"We came out with a lot of intensity and we came out ready to go," McNulty said. "Our defense did a great job tonight."
Kennedy missed a 39-yard field goal wide to the left which was followed by a 16-play, 80-yard drive that increased the City High lead to 14-0. Bobby Millard rushed for the last 22 yards of the drive, including a 3-yard TD run off right tackle where he shed a tackler and then skipped into the end zone.
The drive was powered by a pair of big 4th-down conversions by quarterback Andrew McNulty. He ran a fake punt for 10 yards on a 4th-and-3, giving the Little hawks the ball at midfield at the end of the first. He added a 12-yard run on a 4th-and-6 from the 34, setting up Millard's carries.
McNulty was key on the Little hawks final drive of the first half. Taking over on their own 17 with just over two minutes to go, McNulty marched City High down the field for a score and a 21-0 lead with 17.7 seconds to go before halftime.
"To go in 21-0, I didn't think we'd be able to do that," Sabers said. "I'm very pleased where we came out and took control of the ballgame.
"On both sides of the ball the first half I felt very happy with what we did. We were driving the ball. We had the tip for the interception. They ran it back and had good field position and we didn't give them anything."
McNulty was 3-for-6 passing for 37 yards and rushed for 40 yards, reaching the end zone on a 13-yard run. McNulty finished with 117 yards passing and 109 yards on the ground. Thompson added 81 rushing yards. Connoer Alberhasky was McNulty's favorite traget, catching seven passes for 75 yards.
McNulty has made great strides as a player physically, becoming more of a dual threat, according to Sabers.
"He's just improved so much as an athlete," said Sabers, adding "He's a heck of a football player. He's a great runner. He finishes runs. He could be a tailback."
Now it sets up anothyer matchup of undefeated MVC foes. This time the Hawks play on the road against Washington, who clubbed Dubuque Senior Friday night.
"They're a great team," McNulty said. "Very athletic like everyone knows. We know we have to have a great week of practice and we're going to do our stuff fundamentally and keep our heads in our game and take care of business."