By Jeremy McDonald
MT. ANGEL, Ore.– Instant Classic. Slobber-knocker. A Knockdown, drag-out fight.
Call it what you’ll like, but following the 18-12 overtime win for Kennedy had a special meaning for Senior running back David Reyes.
Bent on one knee following his game-winning score at around the 50-yard line of the Trojan sideline, he was collecting his thoughts. This moment was big for him knowing that it could have never happened if they didn’t get the ‘ok’ to play this year.
“All the hard work. I realistically still think that we weren’t supposed to have a season, but I spent time working out. Working on myself and I’m extremely thankful that I would be here tonight, on our home field. It was a lot to soak in. Totally unbelievable,” Reyes described.
The moment capped a 48-minute plus war in the mud with the Crusaders. Salem Academy came in riding the hot hand, outscoring their opposition 91-8 while the brotherhood of Kennedy were looking to build off of their 28-0 win over Regis last week.
The Trojans rode behind the I-formation to start, running it with Reyes and Brady Traegar, challenging the athletic Crusader defense. But it wasn’t until midway through the second quarter when Kennedy struck first against the Salem Academy defense with a Riley Cantu 10-yard strike.
Chase Brown answered with a 65-yard touchdown strike moments later. Breaking tackles like he was Larry Csonka in the process to tie the game up at six. The Trojans would go into halftime up 12-6 thanks to a Traeger nine-yard score with 30 seconds left in the half.
The energy. The passion. The effort in the chess match was something from another time with the score standing 12-6 going into the closing moments of regulation. Mud on their jerseys that they each wore like a badge of honor.
“It was so much fun. A whole lot different than any other game I’ve ever played,” Salem Academy’s Brandon Reed said. “The heart of the game. The work that we put in. Energy towards the game. Even though we didn’t come out with the ‘W’, I love what we put out on the field.
“It was a great measuring stick. We’ve been waiting for it and once we got it, we knew we were in a fight. We were ready for the dogfight in the mud, for a lot of the guys they had to step up and they did their job.”
Brown would help pull the Crusaders even at 12 with 3:12 left in the game. The Trojans stopped the turnover.
Neither team could respond with the two opportunities each squad had in the final 3:12 of the game. Salem Academy had a chance to take the lead being first-up in overtime, the Kennedy defense said no.
The Trojans took over with their first possession of overtime and attacked the left side of the Crusader defense with Reyes.
“We had faith. Our coaches had faith and even our players. Not a second of let-down and I really appreciate all these guys, the lineman blocking making all my runs possible. I really appreciate it,” Reyes said. “We kept fighting. We had too much passion in this game, we had to fight. We had to keep fighting; we did not give up.”
Reyes would punch it in from nine-yards out, stretching out to score the game-winner as the Senior running back finished with 75 yards on 20 carries. Traeger finished with 40 yards rushing on eight carries and three receptions for 33 yards for Kennedy.
Brown rushed for 102 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns and Reed threw for 102 yards and added 16 more yards on the ground for Salem Academy.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald