By Jeremy McDonald
SILVERTON, Ore.– Gaston had just snapped Kennedy’s shutout when Tristan Skill returned the Trojans kickoff to the endzone with 58 seconds left in the opening half.
It was the third touchdown Kennedy surrendered since October 14, but the thing was in the Trojans 50-16 victory, there were 58 seconds left on the clock in a then 35-8 game.
The Trojans were clicking once more Saturday afternoon at McGinnis Field in Silverton. Defensively, they caused turnovers. Fumble recoveries, interceptions and stopping the option-offense that the Greyhounds ran to give their offense an opportunity to capitalize that they ultimately would do.
“It’s different for sure, but for us we kind of have our own jobs and our own responsibilities so we don’t have to worry about all that stuff. We got guys on the outside containing and our D-Line does a good job holding the stuff in the middle, the linebackers fill-in between the gaps,” side offensive and defensive lineman Matt Hopkins.
Everything was clicking offensively. The offensive line set up the running game, led by Elijah Traeger’s three rushing touchdowns.
The passing game too was rolling too. Brett Boen had set up one of the Trojans scoring strikes in the first quarter and Kennedy turned to it in the final minute of the first half.
Gaston had their flashes; they went to the blitz often early in the second quarter that stalled the Trojans one drive they didn’t score on to match their kickoff return for a touchdown. Kennedy didn’t want to leave the slightest of cracks as they went to work.
With three Riley Cantu passes following the Gaston onside kick attempt that was recovered by the Trojans, Kennedy went roughly 50-yards to answer the Greyhounds score with one of their own. Capping the drive with a nine-yard Boen touchdown strike 11 seconds after recovering the onside kick to cap off a strong first half leading 43-8.
“We just had to get it done and go out there to score and just finish it off and keep it going,” Boen said. “We came out fast (today) and it was awesome. Trying to get everyone pumped up, we just came out real fast and everyone did great.
“The line did amazing, the receivers we did well. It was awesome.”
Boen finished with two receptions for 56 yards. Owen Bruner had three receptions for 115 yards with Kennedy scoring 29 second quarter points to separate themselves going to the second half en route to their third 2A Semi-finals in four years.
“It’s great. Not a lot of teams can go and play in them so we’re very fortunate to be going to it. A lot of young guys keep coming up and it feels really good,” Hopkins said.
“We’re going to be ready. We’ll get back to practice and go get ready to go to take on Lakeview,” adds Boen.
Ethan Kleinschmit led the defense with two interceptions.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald