Jensen Merrill of Kennedy Catholic holds on as he gets a ride from Mountlake Terrace's Chance Ragsdale. SCROLL DOWN TO VIEW MORE PHOTOS
SLIDESHOW: Kennedy Catholic holds off Mountlake Terrace
Opportunistic offense and defense carried Kennedy Catholic to a decisive first half lead before the Lancers had to hold off a second half comeback in a 35-29 Class 3A quad-district football playoff win against Mountlake Terrace on the Highline Memorial Stadium turf Saturday, Nov.3.
Kennedy (9-1) next plays the Columbia River Chieftains of Vancouver Saturday. Mountlake Terrace finished at 5-5.
"The good parts are that we're still alive and we'll get better," a somewhat disappointed head coach Bob Bourgette said.
The improvements coach Bourgette referred to comprised the sometimes leaky faucet second half defense that allowed Mountlake Terrace to mount comebacks that kept the visiting Hawks in contention.
Kennedy scored just enough to keep Mountlake Terrace off its back when opportunities to snuff the Hawks were present.
Leading 21-3, the Lancers began giving up big chunks of yardage. The Hawks came out of halftime with great motivation and switched emphasis from the run to the pass. Mountlake Terrace quarterback Beau Kennedy passed on six of the Hawks' first 12 plays of the second half with Shawn Enensen being the primary receiver.
Running back Devante Downs dashed 14 yards down the right sideline for Mountlake Terrace's first touchdown.
Following the failed extra point, Kennedy Catholic held a 21-9 lead with 5:16 remaining in the third quarter.
The Lancers countered with a seven-play, 75-yard march keyed by Colin Cossette's 41 rushing yards and a 23-yard fake hand off and quarterback keeper by Conner Richardson. Richardson started left and cut right to negotiate the final six yards for the touchdown, leading to a 28-9 command as 1:44 remained in the third quarter.
Mountlake Terrace would go on to score two huge touchdowns on quick strikes to make the match up meaningful, again. The first big play occurred after the Kennedy kickoff following Richardson's six-yard touchdown.
With first and 10 to go on their own 20-yard line, the Hawks took 14 seconds to score. An 80-yard touchdown run by streaking Lucas Pope down the right sideline brought Mountlake Terrace within 28-15 with 1:30 left in the third quarter while a second touchdown on a 54-yard pass from Kennedy to a completely wide open wide receiver Shawn Evenson pulled the Hawks within 28-22 with 8:46 remaining in regulation game time.
Kennedy responded with its ground game, going 53 yards on 11 plays as it consumed six minutes of game time with Cossette consuming most of the yardage, including the final two yards for a 35-22 lead.
Mountlake Terrace refused to quit and notched a touchdown with two seconds left on a Kennedy to Quentin Barnard four-yard pass. The Hawks' subsequent onside kick went out of bounds and the Lancer quarterback Richardson took a knee, sending Kennedy Catholic into the state round of 16.
Three first half touchdowns by senior Drew Thompson gave fourth-ranked Kennedy Catholic a huge advantage.
Mountlake Terrace actually scored first by virtue of a solid running game featuring Downs.The Hawks drove 79 yards, but had to settle for an Austin Bates field goal of 30 yards to lead 3-0 with 3:06 remaining in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Kennedy Catholic retaliated by utilizing its double dynamite running backs of Colin Cossette and Drew Thompson. Linebacker Chandler Reed's recovery of a Hawk fumble on the Mountlake Terrace 31 yard line set up the Lancers for a short field drive. Gains of nine and two yards by Cossette preceded Thompson's 19 yard touchdown burst off right tackle and Kennedy took the lead for good at 7-3 with 11:02 to go before halftime.
Kennedy's stunting linebackers and defensive linemen began slowing down the Mountlake Terrace ground attack. The Lancers matriculated the ball 79 yards with Cossette and Thompson slamming through holes and pushing tacklers back for most of the yards with an occasional contribution from Richardson and Antonio Wynter. Thompson skirted right end for a 19-yard touchdown as JFK assumed a 14-3 margin.
Using an attacking defense, the Lancers got the ball back with 42 seconds remaining until halftime. Richardson passed for gains of 13 yards to Chandler Reed and 26 yards to Cole Madison, respectively, in a good clock management attack that also put in time outs judiciously. Thompson notched his third touchdown on the last play of the half and Kennedy Catholic carried a 21-3 lead into halftime.
Cossette took most of the second half carries due to Thompson suffering an eye injury.
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