Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – City High’s football team relied on quick strikes. Cedar Rapids Kennedy countered with a methodical approach.
The Cougars’ mode of transportation — ground-and-pound — trumped the Little Hawks’ aerial attack Friday night.
Behind a bruising offensive line, anchored by left tackle and University of Iowa recruit Nick Brooks, Class 5A ninth-ranked Kennedy accumulated 29 first downs and 348 yards on the ground to spoil City High’s homecoming at Bates Field, 61-34.
“We couldn’t get them stopped,” City High coach Mitch Moore said.
City High lost standout linebacker Holdon Clay to a knee injury early in the game.
Kennedy (3-2) pounced as tailbacks Trevor Scott and Jacob Doyle teamed for 336 rushing yards and three scores.
“When you’re grounding and pounding and then go play on offense, you lose a lot of momentum there,” Moore said. “That was certainly part of their game plan and they executed that really well.”
Kennedy had more passing attempts than rushes in the first four weeks.
Cougars coach Brian White saw an opportunity on film to dominate this one in the trenches.
“We’ve done a pretty good job of passing the ball up to this point, but if you want to play in November, you’ve got to do both,” White said. “We decided we’re going to knuckle up, get hands in the dirt, get in the (I-formation) and run old-school football and it worked.”
With the exception of Kennedy’s second offensive series — where Dax Judge recorded a third-down sack — City High (2-3) never had an answer.
The Cougars averaged more than 8.5 yards on first down and possessed the ball for nearly 17 1/2 minutes in the opening half.
“We’ve played some really good offensive lines,” Moore noted. “We thought going into the season the strength of our defense would be our defensive line, but they’ve been pushed around a little more than we thought.
“We just never could get that negative play. It was second-and-6, second-and-4, third-and-2 most of the night. It was never a third-and-8 where we could pin our ears back.”
The Little Hawks managed to hang around with big plays in the passing game.
Junior Bobby Bacon completed 22 of 29 throws for 321 yards and three touchdowns.
Bacon completed passes that covered 26, 38, 42 and 62 yards, respectively.
It also received 83 rushing yards and two touchdowns from tailback Miles Parlet.
“We emphasize perseverance and battling through adversity,” Parlet said. “You look at the scoreboard and down 20 points, it can be hard to go out there and say, ‘Let’s punch this in.’ We kept battling and that’s a positive for us going into the next four weeks.”
Kennedy seized control early in the second quarter.
With Kennedy leading 14-7, kicker Dylan Augustine pooched a directional kick over the head of City High’s deep return man.
By the time the Little Hawks could retrieve it, they were tackled at their own 1-yard line.
The Cougars sacked Bacon for safety and then capitalized on a short field off the free kick with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Vincenzo Gianforte to Calvin White.
Suddenly, the Little Hawks were in a 23-7 hole.
“That (kickoff) killed us,” Moore said. “Special teams killed us a little bit tonight.”
“He’s really good at that,” White said of his kicker. “It’s like hitting a 9-iron. We saw their return man come up a little bit, so we’re like, ‘Pop it over his head and put it on the 5-yard line.’ It was a great kick.”
Parlet scored the first of his two touchdowns to bring City High within 23-13 late in the second quarter, but the Little Hawks would not draw any closer.
After the teams exchanged touchdowns to begin the third quarter, Kennedy reeled off 21 points in 3 minutes, 23 seconds.
Doyle registered a 33-yard touchdown run, and then the Cougars came up with consecutive interception returns for scores.
Owen Anderson jumped a screen pass from Bacon and took it back 28 yards for a score.
On the ensuing City High possession, Kennedy’s Christian Gasper picked off a pass and darted 65 yards for a touchdown.
“They made a hell of a play on that first pick-six,” Moore said. “The second one was on us.”
Despite the score and injuries, Moore was encouraged with his team’s fight late.
Parker Sutherland hauled in six grabs for 82 yards and two scores.
Connor Cross had a 62-yard touchdown reception and Jeremiah Madlock led all receivers with four catches for 113 yards.
“I just thought there was a little missing piece tonight,” Moore said. “Not sure if we just ran out of gas after having five such high-energy games in a row here. I just didn’t feel like we had that, but I didn’t feel like we quit. That’s a testament to our seniors and leadership here.
“We lost to a team that was definitely better than us tonight. No doubt about it.”
City High is on the road for the next two weeks to play Davenport Central (1-4) and Davenport North (2-3) before closing the regular season with Linn-Mar (2-3) and Bettendorf (5-0).
The Little Hawks realize their margin for error is minimal if they want to make the 16-team playoff field.
“We can’t afford any more losses,” Parlet said. “Us seniors, we’re fighting our hardest to keep the season going. We’re playing for something bigger than ourselves each week.
“The next four weeks are going to be tough, but the character of our team is really going to shine through. We’ll see what this team is really made of in the next month.”
First downs 29 19
Rushes-yards 59-348 23-111
Comp-Att-Int 8-15-0 22-29-2
Passing yards 118 321
Total yards 466 432
Punts-avg. 1-29.0 1-29.0
Fumbles-lost 1-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 12-90 8-61
C.R. Kennedy 7 19 28 7 — 61
City High 7 6 14 7 — 34
CRK – Cyrus Courtney 9 pass from Vincenzo Gianforte (Dylan Augustine kick)
ICH – Connor Cross 62 pass from Bobby Bacon (Will Perrill kick)
CRK – Trevor Scott 18 run (Augustine kick)
CRK – Safety
CRK – Calvin White 7 pass from Gianforte (Augustine kick)
ICH – Miles Parlet 16 run (pass failed)
CRK – FG Augustine 33
CRK – Jacob Doyle 2 run (Augustine kick)
ICH – Parker Sutherland 15 pass from Bacon (Perrill kick)
CRK – Doyle 33 run (Augustine kick)
CRK – Owen Anderson 28 interception return (Andrew Waterhouse kick)
CRK – Christian Gasper 65 interception return (Augustine kick)
ICH – Parlet 3 run (Perrill kick)
ICH – Sutherland 26 pass from Bacon (Perrill kick)
CRK – White 1 run (Augustine kick)
RUSHING – CR Kennedy: Trevor Scott 26-170, Jacob Doyle 24-166, Brayden Alber 1-9, Calvin White 3-7, Vincenzo Gianforte 5-(-4). City High: Miles Parlet 14-83, Gabe Egeland 3-33, Bobby Bacon 6-(-5).
PASSING – CR Kennedy: Gianforte 8-15-0, 118 yards. City High: Bacon 22-29-2, 321 yards.
RECEIVING – CR Kennedy: Alber 1-29, Pierce McCrary 1-29, Cyrus Courtney 2-19, Grant Mather 1-19, White 2-17, Doyle 1-5. City High: Jeremiah Madlock 4-113, Connor Cross 6-83, Parker Sutherland 5-82, Egeland 2-25, Carsen Newton 3-13, Parlet 2-5.