Kennedy back on winning track, heads into Class 3 district football play
By: Warren Mayes
It’s been some time coming but the Kennedy Celts have returned to winning football.
The Celts finished 5-3 this season under coach Scott Long. Kennedy entertains visiting St. James in a 7 p.m. first-round Class 3 District 3 game Friday (Oct. 26).
“It is exciting for the coaches, players, and our football community,” Long said. “I’m especially proud of our upperclassmen and our past players, who stuck it out when things weren’t going very well.
“Football at Kennedy has always been fun but it is nice to have some on-field success. ”
The last winning season for the Celts came in 2005. After years of struggling, Kennedy got back on the winning streak in Long’s fifth year as the head coach. He knew coming in this could be a potential break-through season for his program.
“We thought this could be a good year. For the first time in my five years as head coach we have a good number of seniors,” Long said. “We are physically better able to compete than in years past and we don’t make as many mental mistakes due to our experience.”
The Celts finished third in the Archdioscean Athletic Association small school division.
“We’ve been competitive in very game thus far,” Long said.
Senior running back Joe Lawrence has been a potent weapon on offense for Kennedy. He has gained 1,341 yards on 188 carries for a 7.1-yard average per attempt. Lawrence has scored 17 touchdowns this season.
“Joe is currently third on Kennedy’s single season rushing list but he does hold the school record for touchdowns in a season,” Long said. “That’s not bad for having played just eight games to this point.”
Helping clear the way for Lawrence has been an offensive line that blocks well and wants to see him gain yards. The linemen are left tackle Timmy Smith, left guard Marc St. Amour , center Luke Zelinsky, right guard Andrew Manott, right tackle Jack Gagan and tight ends Tony Scalise and Austin Proctor.
“Our line has been solid all season,” Long said.
It takes more than just a few players to create a winning team and the Celts have them.
First- year junior quarterback Jake Powers, who also plays linebacker, has been solid in his roles. Powers has thrown for 269 yards on 19 of 47 passing. In the running game, he has rushed for 237 yards on 58 carries.
Running back/linebacker Mike Kohlberg, running back/linebacker Cody Gardner, and running back/defensive tackle Sam Stewart also have made big contributions for Kennedy.
“They all have had excellent seasons as well,” Long said. “ Our defense has also played well.”
One-way defensive starters include Sam Stewart, JD Arent, Quinton Tomso, Noah Arent, and Jimmy Yahl.
“Our kicker and defensive Jake Gaal has also had a fine season,” Long said. “Trevor Weiprict and Nick Scarfino have added depth at several positions.”
The Celts will be facing the 3-6 St. James Tigers in the district opener. Long said Kennedy has respect for the Tigers.
“St. James is a very good football team,” Long said. “They play a brutal schedule so they are battle tested and experienced. It should be a very competitive game.”
Long and his Celts are ready to play at home.
“It should be a great atmosphere for us on Friday,” Long said.