Kennedy Catholic’s junior star quarterback Sam Huard spent most of the first quarter on the sidelines as Bishop Blanchet mounted a long drive to start Friday night’s non-league game at Nash Field.
After an interception return for a touchdown by junior teammate Zane Thornton and another stalled Bishop Blanchet drive, Huard and the offense finally got to take the field and didn’t look back en route to a 50-0 drubbing of the Braves.
“You’re happy for (the defense), but you want to go out and play,” Huard said. “The same thing happened in week one versus Bethel, we got a kickoff return (for a touchdown), so we’re used to it. You have to be prepared for that stuff, but just shout out to the defense. They played great and went out and got stops all night. We just had to go out and put some points on the board, which we did.”
The Lancers’ defense was stellar throughout the game, holding the Braves to just two yards of total offense for the game.
“It’s awesome to see our defense play so well,” Kennedy head coach Sheldon Cross said. “Our defense was so good against the run again, and I think that’s a good football team. Blanchet was 2-0, and they were scoring in the 40s each game. I think they’re going to win a lot of ball games.”
Huard was nearly perfect on the Lancers’ first drive, completing five of his six passes for 61 yards and a 6-yard touchdown pass to Justin Baker, which gave the Lancers a 14-0 lead.
Huard added two more touchdown passes in the second quarter to give the Lancers a 28-0 lead at halftime.
“Sam is just dynamic,” Cross said. “The wide-outs are all in sync. That’s a beautiful group of guys that know how to play together and have played together for years.”
Huard’s final touchdown pass of the first half was to senior Sav’ell Smalls, who is known for his dominance on defense. Smalls enjoyed getting into the act on the offensive side of the ball on Friday.
“It’s fun,” Smalls said. “Especially when you have Sam Huard slinging it to you.”
Any chance the Braves had to mount a comeback disappeared in the early moments of the third quarter. Huard completed his first five passes of the third quarter for 127 yards and two more touchdowns and the Lancers added a safety to take a commanding 43-0 lead.
Huard finished 20-for-28 with 292 yards, five touchdowns and one interception.
“He’s amazing,” Cross said. “We want to play good all the time, regardless of the score. That was probably the most mentally tough that Sam has been since he’s been here to not look at the scoreboard and get off to a good start. We played like it was 0-0 at the half, and at the start of the second half, he played like it was for a championship. That’s hard for high school kids to do.”
The game was marred by over 20 penalty calls that seemed to keep both teams from getting into a rhythm, especially in the first half.
“I think what we’re doing, in a weird kind of way, is just getting used to saying, ‘We can only control what we can control,’” Cross said. “Our mindset has to be strong. The refs are going to call what they’re going to call and we have to play good no matter what. I think we are doing a good job of just overlooking that stuff and just looking past it and not dwelling on it. We just play as good as we can.”
Kennedy sophomore Kieren Collins added a 35-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to make up the final margin of victory.
Lancers’ junior Leland Ward had 68 yards rushing, all in the second half to lead the team. Cross was pleased to see Ward and others play well in their opportunity to play with the outcome of the game not in doubt.
“All of our guys work so hard and put in so much time,” Cross said. “We have really good football players that people don’t know about and they go to practice every day. I’m more proud of the way our guys were excited when the other guys got in. Our five-star guys, our best players, were sitting there rooting for those guys and jumping up and down when they were making plays.
“It’s kind of contagious, and that says a lot about our program.
AT NASH FIELD
Kennedy Catholic 14 14 15 7 - 50
Bishop Blanchet 0 0 0 0 - 0
K – Zane Thornton 82 interception return (Michael Snyder kick)
K – Justin Baker 6 pass from Sam Huard (Snyder kick)
K – Zaire Lozolo 8 pass from Huard (Snyder kick)
K – Sav’ell Smalls 2 pass from Huard (Snyder kick)
K – Reed Shumpert 10 pass from Huard (kick blocked)
K – Safety (ball snapped over Bishop Blanchet punter’s head)
K – Shumpert 61 pass from Huard (Snyder kick)
K – Kieren Collins 35 fumble return (Snyder kick)
K – Sam Huard 20-28-1-292; Mason Hayes 2-3-0-19.
B – Alex Johnson 5-14-2-33.
K – Zaire Lozolo 3-24; Justin Baker 3-31; Leland Ward 11-68.
B – Luke Gardner 4-34; Alex Johnson 7-(-71); Connor McCallum 5-5; Jacob Nguyen 5-5; Jack Ziemer 1-0; Alex Oximana 4-5; Nic Ewing 1-5.
K – Xe’Ree Alexander 2-19; Sav’ell Smalls 1-2-1; Jabez Tinae 3-15; Zaire Lozolo 3-38-1; Justin Baker 6-122-1; Junior Alexander 3-34; Reed Shumpert 3-81-2.
B – Henry Johnson 2-25; Colin Graves 3-6.