Kennedy Catholic High School football continues to make this clear — its young offense, piloted by sophomore quarterback Sam Huard, is one of the most explosive in the state.
The Lancers have receivers with speed, athleticism and big-play ability, and a quarterback who can sling the ball down the field with ease.
That group of underclassmen was on display again Saturday afternoon at Highline Memorial Stadium.
Huard threw six touchdowns, junior Justin Baker caught three and ran for another, the offense piled up 625 total yards and Kennedy scored four times in the fourth quarter to rout Bishop Blanchet, 55-24, in a nonleague contest.
“I think last week Bothell did a good job of containing us and keeping those explosive plays away from us,” Huard said of last week’s 59-41 loss on the road at Pop Keeney Stadium. “I think they were still there last week, but we didn’t really execute on it.
“This week, we knew that we had to capitalize on that.”
Each of the Lancers’ eight touchdowns Saturday was for 30 yards or more, and most involved a member Kennedy’s receiving corps beating Blanchet defenders and bursting into the end zone.
Huard finished 21 of 38 passing for 490 yards, the six touchdowns and one interception. His season passing total is already clear of 1,500 yards, and he has 18 passing touchdowns just three weeks into the season.
He connected for touchdowns with all three of his top targets — three times with Baker, twice with sophomore Jabez Tinae and once with sophomore Junior Alexander.
After Kurtis Delen converted a 20-yard field goal on the Braves’ opening drive, which was set up by Tommy Gardner’s 81-yard run up the sideline, Kennedy answered with three consecutive scores.
Tinae came out of the slot on the opening play of the Lancers’ second drive, cleared a defender and hauled in Huard’s pass for a 72-yard touchdown.
Two drives later, Huard found Baker in space down the left sideline for a 38-yard score. Baker scored two more of his four touchdowns before the half expired on a 93-yard run that was set up by an Amir Cornett interception and another 31-yard pass from Huard.
“Last week we were rolling, we just defensively weren’t getting the stops we needed,” Baker said. “We had the same mindset (this week). It was sort of like our first opponent (Chief Sealth) because they ran man against us.
“We knew if they were going to press us we could pretty much use anything in our arsenal. We were ready. Coach always has the best game plan. We knew what plays we wanted to run and we executed.”
The Lancers never trailed after Tinae’s opening touchdown, took a 26-10 lead into the break, and put up 29 points in the final quarter to end any comeback threat.
Each of Huard’s final three passes in the contest were long touchdowns in the fourth quarter to Baker (82 yards), Tinae (72) and Alexander (33).
Baker led the Lancers in rushing (seven carries, 100 yards) and receiving (six catches, 187 yards). Tinae added five catches for 173 yards and the two touchdowns, and Alexander had seven receptions for 114 yards and the score, which was set up by a Tre Holman interception.
Senior linebacker Kaleb Ives recorded Kennedy’s final score with six seconds remaining in the game, when he returned a blocked punt for a 33-yard touchdown. The Lancers’ bench emptied and rushed toward Ives in the end zone after the score.
“We’re going to enjoy this one today and get ready for next week,” Huard said.
Gardner, who led all rushers with 263 yards on 23 carries and added 66 receiving yards on five catches, scored all three of Blanchet’s touchdowns on runs of 13, 70 and 5 yards.
Blanchet quarterback Alex Johnson finished 12 of 24 passing for 158 yards and the two interceptions.
Kennedy’s defense allowed 479 yards of offense, but had key stops on several drives to limit the Braves’ scoring opportunities, and never allowed more than one touchdown in a quarter.
The Lancers caused three Blanchet turnovers (two interceptions and a fumble), forced five punts, blocked a field goal and the punt that Ives returned for the touchdown.
“They got me the ball back a lot, and they created a lot of turnovers, got some key stops and they did a great job today,” Huard said.
Kennedy, which is part of the 4A NPSL Mountain Division — the top tier of the restructured league — opens league play Friday on the road at Tahoma (2-1).
“We’re ready,” Baker said. “We had a good game our first game, and showed what we can do. Second game, we had to face a little adversity, which happens in football.
“But, now we’ve bounched back, and that shows the character we have in our team, so we’re ready.”
BISHOP BLANCHET 3 7 7 7_24
KENNEDY CATHOLIC 12 14 0 29_55
BB – Kurtis Delen 20 field goal
KC – Jabez Tinae 72 pass from Sam Huard (run failed)
KC – Justin Baker 38 pass from Huard (pass failed)
KC – Baker 93 run (Michael Snyder kick)
BB – Tommy Gardner 13 run (Delen kick)
KC – Baker 31 pass from Huard (Snyder kick)
BB – Gardner 70 run (Delen kick)
KC – Baker 82 pass from Huard (Snyder kick)
KC – Tinae 72 pass from Huard (Snyder kick)
KC – Junior Alexander 33 pass from Huard (Snyder kick)
BB – Gardner 5 run (Delen kick)
KC – Kaleb Ives 33 punt return (Cal Sample pass from John Kemp)
Passing: BB – Alex Johnson 12-24-2-158. KC – Sam Huard 21-38-1-490.
Rushing: BB – Tommy Gardner 23-263; Jack Maider 10-48; Milo Bouchard 6-8; Jacob Nguyen 2-5; Alex Johnson 2-(-3). KC – Justin Baker 7-100; Leland Ward 3-16; Jahvius Leui 4-12; Sam Huard 1-8; Lamont Richardson 2-(-1).
Receiving: BB – Tommy Gardner 5-66; Dylan Lee 2-48; Jack Maider 1-12; Jake Freeman 1-11; Joseph Kahn 1-10; Chris Frost 1-8; Kurtis Delen 1-3. KC – Justin Baker 6-187; Jabez Tinae 5-173; Junior Alexander 7-114; Leland Ward 1-6; Cal Sample 1-6; Reed Shumpert 1-4.