Football: Kennedy rolls over Regis 46-6
The story of this year's Kennedy football team began in Week 5 of the 2017 season. After opening last season with four consecutive losses, the Trojans went 4-3 in the final two months of the year, ultimately falling to the eventual state champion Monroe Dragons in a 41-35 shootout in the quarterfinals.
Flash forward to a year later, and the lessons learned during that 4-7 season are paying off massive dividends after the Trojans defeated the Regis Rams 46-6 on Friday to open the season at 2-0
Kennedy's win came off after nearly identical 47-6 victory at 3A Blanchet Catholic to start the season on Aug. 31. Through the first two weeks of the season, the Trojans have thus far showed they have started exactly where they left off in their loss to Monroe and are looking to use their momentum to make a deep playoff run this year.
"The guys are playing hard," head coach Joe Panuke said. "We're playing pretty clean football. We're trying not to turn the football over and take it away as much as we can."
Such was the case on Friday against the Rams.
Kennedy was effectively able to shut down much of the Regis offense, generating two interceptions, a turnover on downs and recovering a fumbled snap on a punt attempt. As a result, the majority of the Trojans' possessions began at midfield or closer, giving the Kennedy offense a generous head start.
"I'm a defensive guy, I love defense, but I call the offense and both of them looked real well," Panuke said. "The No. 1 thing I look for is if we're playing physical and we're playing disciplined, and we did both of those tonight."
The first interception came on the Rams' second series of the game, when Kennedy junior Bruce Beyer stepped in front of a Regis pass and picked it off, carrying it 36 yards to the end zone for the Trojans' second touchdown of the game. It was the second pick-six in as many games for Beyer, who set a new school record by returning an interception 103 yards for a score against Blanchet the week before.
"I'm ok with that," Panuke said, chuckling. "If our defense scores, the chances of winning are pretty high, that's for sure."
Beyer's score made it 13-0 in favor of the Trojans, who opened the game with a 34-yard touchdown run by Emorej Lynk. The sophomore running back scored twice more in the first half and Beyer added a second touchdown to his stat sheet at the end of the second quarter, as Kennedy marched into halftime up 32-0.
The Trojans extended their lead to 46-0 on two more rushing touchdowns in the third quarter, one each by Lynk and sophomore David Reyes, before Kennedy's reserves came in to take the majority of the snaps in the final 12 minutes of play.
Lynk finished the game with 10 carries for 104 yards and four touchdowns, while Reyes added 60 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. The Trojans amassed more than 200 yards of rushing offense spread across eight players who carries the ball, a sign of the team's depth across not just among the ball carriers, but all positions this year.
"We have some depth this year at tight end, running back and receivers," Panuke said. "It's nice when you can rotate your guys in and out. Sure, at the end of the day the guys want more touches, but they understand guys are talented, they need to play and they're fresher at the end of the game."
Aside from the running game, Panuke also gave sophomore quarterback Dylan Kleinschmit the reigns to air out the offense on several series. Outside of an interception in the second quarter, Kleinschmit played the rest of the game nearly flawless, completing 9-of-12 passes for 100 yards. Lynk caught three of his passes for 46 yards, while junior Rocco Carley added four catches for 41 yards.
"Obviously we can run the ball pretty well when we need to, but to get where we want to go, we're going to have to throw the ball a little bit and spread it out," Panuke said. "We're just trying to do things from different formations and get as many people involved as possible."
Where they ultimately want to go is all the way to the state championship game in November, and the Trojans know the first step in doing so is through league rival Santiam, which lost to Monroe in last year's title game.
The two teams square off this Friday in Mount Angel, kicking off the league schedule much earlier than usual for the Trojans due to the extra teams added to the Tri-River Conference this year.
"With the league schedule change, we saw that early," Panuke said. "We normally have four preseason games to get tuned up. That's been our focus. We don't have four tune-up games. We have a jamboree and then two games, and it's probably a league title right there. We'll make sure we're ready to go and stay healthy."
Kennedy 46, Regis 6
Kennedy 13 19 14 0 -- 46
Regis 0 0 0 6 -- 6
Kennedy (8:43) -- Emorej Lynk 34-yard touchdown run (Beyer PAT no good).
Kennedy (0:37) -- Bruce Beyer 36-yard interception return for touchdown (Beyer PAT good).
Kennedy (6:11) -- Emorej Lynk 11-yard touchdown run (2-point no good).
Kennedy (2:48) -- Emorej Lynk 10-yard touchdown run (2-point no good).
Kennedy (0:52) -- Bruce Beyer 1-yard touchdown run (Beyer PAT good).
Kennedy (9:18) -- Emorej Lynk 4-yard touchdown run (Beyer PAT good).
Kennedy (6:26) -- David Reyes 15-yard touchdown run (Beyer PAT good).
Regis (6:38) -- Jackson Nees 9-yard touchdown run (2-point no good).
Dylan Kleinschmit — 9-of-12, 100 yards, 1 interception
Emorej Lynk — 10 carries, 104 yards, 4 touchdowns
David Reyes — 7 carries, 60 yards, 1 touchdown
Bryce Vandervoort 5 carries, 17 yards
Bruce Beyer — 4 carries, 2 yards, 1 touchdown
Isaiah Basargin — 3 carries, 27 yards
Stephen Salinas — 1 carry, 13 yards
Demetre Marseille — 1 carry, 6 yards
Angel Dela Rosa — 1 carry, -6 yards
Rocco Carley — 4 catches, 41 yards
Emorej Lynk — 3 catches, 46 yards
Brady Traeger — 1 catch, 10 yards
Bryce Vandervoort — 1 catch, 3 yards