DUBUQUE, Iowa — While Dubuque Senior took a big step toward securing just the second playoff berth in school history, the Rams’ physical play dealt a blow to Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s hopes.
Senior quarterback Austin Clemens completed 18 of 25 passes for 227 yards and running back Parker Hammel rushed for 79 yards and two touchdowns in place of injured starter Alex Duster, and the Rams got past the Cougars, 21-14, on Friday night at the University of Dubuque’s Chalmers Field.
Kennedy coach Tim Lewis cited Senior’s physical play as a big reason for the victory. Alex Hillyer ran for 87 yards on 21 carries and scored a third-quarter touchdown, but the Cougars fell to 0-4 overall, 0-1 in the Mississippi Valley Conference Mississippi Division.
“A lack of physicality,” Lewis said. “They were a lot more physical than I thought they were just from watching video. The kids didn’t step up to it. There was no question they just beat us up from a physical perspective.”
Hammel scored on touchdown runs of 5 and 1 yards in the first two quarters to stake Senior (4-0, 1-0) to a 14-0 lead. Ethan Lembke stretched the lead to 21 with a 7-yard TD pass from Clemens on the opening drive of the second half.
Kennedy came back with Hillyer’s 38-yard touchdown run on the next offensive snap.
Patrick Martin caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Riley Fergus on fourth down with 7 minutes and 15 seconds to play, but Rams linebacker Streat Hoerner intercepted a pass on the Cougars’ next possession, and the Rams ran out the clock after the Senior defense held on fourth down.