DAVENPORT – They’ve been known as slow starters and fast finishers these past few years.
That first part changed some this season. The second part hasn’t.
There’s little question Cedar Rapids Kennedy again is playing its best football late, with more evidence being Monday night’s 35-12 win over Davenport Assumption in a Class 4A playoff second-rounder at Brady Street Stadium.
Quarterback Derek Jacobus ran for three touchdowns, and Miles Moa had 184 yards rushing and a TD to lift Kennedy (8-3) to its second postseason win in six days. The Cougars face Cedar Rapids Xavier (10-1) in a Friday night quarterfinal at Xavier’s Saints Field.
The regular-season version of “The Battle of 42nd Street” was pretty much all Xavier, 24-0. But this is a different Kennedy club than it was for that game in late September.
“Our confidence level is way higher than it was then,” Moa said. “There’s no fear. We have no fear.”
Kennedy’s ground-and-pound offense simply was too much for Assumption (9-2). The Cougars scored on three of their first four possessions to build a 21-12 halftime edge, kept moving the football in the second half and stepped up their defense to win rather comfortably.
Not that Kennedy’s Tim Lewis ever would admit being comfortable. He’s a head coach, after all.
“I don’t think 35-12 was indicative of what I thought was a battle,” Lewis said. “Whenever that quarterback of theirs has the ball in his hands, he’s a threat. There was not one moment that entire night that I ever felt comfortable, knowing he still had the opportunity to make plays.”
“That quarterback” was Assumption’s Jake Gervase, and his running and passing abilities helped give Assumption a 12-6 lead late in the first quarter. Gervase’s 80-yard punt return set up James Hua’s first-quarter touchdown, then he threw a 16-yard scoring pass to Ryan Coughlin that would be the Knights’ final points.
The extra-point attempts after both of Assumption’s TDs were blocked. Terrance Hall had a fumble recovery and Jordan Lunsford an interception early in the fourth that led to a pair of touchdown runs from Jacobus that put this one away.
“The defense really started to hunker down in the second quarter and throughout the rest of the game,” Jacobus said. “We tried to give them a little breathing room.”
Kennedy rushed for 283 yards. The Cougars’ offense has come alive the second half of the season, averaging 37 points over the last six ballgames.
“Big shout out to the o-line again. Great blocking,” Moa said. “I can’t do any of that without them. I’m just glad we’re all coming together, focusing in. Just happy to bring home a ‘W.’”
“I’m proud of our kids,” Lewis said. “At this point in the season, you’ve got just a few minutes to enjoy it, then you get right back to work. This is a special group, and I think we’re playing the best football we’ve played. This is the time to do it.”
Here is the game boxscore:
CR Kennedy 35, Davenport Assumption 12
AT AT DAVENPORT
|TEAM STATISTICS||CR Kennedy||Davenport Assumption|
|Rushes-yards||50 - 283||33 - 179|
|Comp-Att-Int||4 - 7 - 0||6 - 15 - 2|
|Fumbles-lost||2 - 0||1 - 1|
|Punts-average||2 - 38.0||0 - 0.0|
|Penalties-yards||8 - 71||8 - 36|
Rushing: CR Kennedy – Miles Moa 30-184 , Derek Jacobus 9-59 , Terrance Hall 6-41 , Sammy Lizarraga 1-1 , Team 4--2 Davenport Assumption – Jake Gervase 14-88 , James Hua 15-77 , Kolton O'Day 3-12 , Chase Hager 1-4
Passing: CR Kennedy – Derek Jacobus 4-7-0-59 Davenport Assumption – Jake Gervase 6-15-2-103
Receiving: CR Kennedy – Famiek Cook 2-32 , Jay Blank 2-27 Davenport Assumption – Ryan Coughlin 3-39 , James Hua 1-28 , Kolton O'Day 1-24 , Roman Youngblunt 1-12
SCORE BY QUARTERS
DA-James Hua 7 run (kick blocked)
CRK-Derek Jacobus 2 run (Mark Schulz kick)
DA-Ryan Coughlin 16 pass from Jake Gervase (kick blocked)
CRK-Miles Moa 6 run (Schulz kick)
CRK-Sammy Lizarraga 1 run (Schulz kick)
CRK-Jacobus 1 run (Schulz kick)
CRK-Jacobus 24 run (Schulz kick)