Prep Football: Strong Defense Helps Washington Surprise Kennedy

By Jeff Johnson, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS — That thing about Cedar Rapids Washington being in a rebuilding situation? You apparently can forget that.

That thing about Cedar Rapids Kennedy getting off to a quick start to a season? Forget that, too.

It probably doesn't qualify as a shocker, but Washington's 17-6 win last night in the season opener at Kingston Stadium certainly was surprising. Mitch Bredeson rushed for 115 yards and two first-half touchdowns to get the inexperienced Warriors off to a beginning a veteran Kennedy team sorely wanted.

"I think they were expecting to win, and I think we showed that we can still play," said Bredeson, one of very few returning players from Washington's Class 4A state playoff quarterfinal team last year. "We kept fighting and did a great job."

Kennedy has had a habit of starting seasons slowly and finishing strongly, a pattern it thought it could break considering all of its returning players, especially up front offensively. Running back Alex Hillyer rushed 19 times for 138 yards, but the Cougars could never dent the end zone, settling for a pair of Eric Bertroche field goals.

Bredeson capped an 80-yard drive on the game's initial series with a 2-yard TD run for Washington, then broke loose for a 47-yard TD on a counter play in the second quarter. Riyad Ajram's 30-yard field goal in the third provided the game's final points.

"This surprised everyone but us," said linebacker Robert Miley. "We knew what we had to do, and we did it."

Miley was part of a defense that definitely spearheaded this victory. Kennedy didn't complete a pass until late in the fourth quarter, a one-dimensional offense that couldn't get it done.

Interceptions by Reid Snitker and Kyle Malcolm in the final five minutes cemented a game that wasn't always cleanly played. Kennedy had three turnovers to Wash's two.

Wash's Connor Vincent sacked Kennedy quarterback Riley Fergus near midfield, with Jake Bjornsen picking up a fumble and running it inside the Kennedy 10 to set up Ajram's third-period field goal.

"I think that's what we try to breed at Washington. Understanding the process," said Washington Coach Tony Lombardi. "By the time these kids get to be seniors, they're pretty proud of that jersey they wear. Sometimes that carries you through."

Lombardi went on and on at length about his coaching staff, which he said doesn't get enough credit for teaching the game. He spoke very highly of defensive coordinator Mo Blue in particular.

Kennedy ran the football right at Washington to win last year's game, but that didn't happen this time.

"We made some schematic changes, first of all," Lombardi said. "That was very good for us."

Here is the game boxscore:

CR Wash. 17, CR Kennedy 6

AT AT KINGSTON STADIUM

TEAM STATISTICS CR Kennedy CR Wash.
First downs 17 14
Rushes-yards 37 - 161 36 - 144
Passing yards 67 138
Comp-Att-Int 4 - 26 - 2 7 - 14 - 1
Total yards 228 282
Fumbles-lost 3 - 1 3 - 1
Punts-average 2 - 43.5 2 - 21.0
Penalties-yards 9 - 59 3 - 15
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing: CR Kennedy – Alex Hiller 19-138 , Seth Gilmore 2-12 , Andrew Johnson 3-10 , Joel Smetzer 1-4 , Riley Fergus 1-3 , Miles Moa 4-2 , Alexander Pins 1-1 , Brock Skow 1-0 CR Wash. – Mitch Bredeson 21-115 , Mitch Blades 9-46 , Robert Miley 1-2 , JoJo McBride 2-0 , Team 2-0 , Riyad Ajram 1-0

Passing: CR Kennedy – Joel Smetzer 4-16-2-67 , Riley Fergus 0-9-0-0 , Team 0-1-0-0 CR Wash. – Mitch Blades 7-14-1-138

Receiving: CR Kennedy – Jacob Frazier-Flores 2-37 , Donovan Kosman 2-19 , Eric Bertroche 1-11 CR Wash. – Maliek Ketchens 1-48 , Jason Oney 4-37 , Noah Dostal 1-34 , Reagan Wilson 1-19

SCORE BY QUARTERS

CR Kennedy 3 3 0 0 6 6
CR Wash. 7 7 3 0 17 17
SCORING SUMMARY

Wash-Mitch Bredeson 2 run (Riyad Ajram kick)
Kenn-Eric Bertroche 38 FG
Wash-Bredeson 47 run (Ajram kick)
Kenn-Bertroche 23 FG
Wash-Ajram 30 FG
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