Kennedy Hangs On, Heads To 3A Semis

By Jeremy McDonald

SILVERTON, Ore.–  Saturday afternoon’s game with Vale in the 3A State Quarterfinals sure did feel like their game with Santiam Christian two weeks ago in how close and competitive it was.

On top of that, it’s not too often that the Trojans have been behind and had to battle back.  Matter of fact that game with the Eagles were the only time that Kennedy were down this season prior to Saturday’s game with the Vikings.

And granted they had more time to rally back than the 1:15 they had that day as they had a whole half to rally back from being down 6-0 in their 14-12 victory.  Thanks to a realization thanks to their coaches and amongst themselves, the Trojans settled back in and took a 14-6 lead off a Elijah Traeger-to-Brett Boen reception and a rushing score from Traeger, both coming in the third quarter.

“He said ‘we’re only down six and the game’s not over.  We got a whole another half to go win’.  We knew we were better, we just had to come through,” said Boen of the halftime talk.  “Never overlook your opponent and go as hard as you can because any team can beat you.”

Kennedy scored twice in the second half and held off Vale 14-12 to head to the 3A State Semi-Finals next week (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

But Vale, a 3A State Semi-Finalist in 2021 and a 3A Playoff regualr, wasn’t about to back down.  They’re going to make the six-plus hour one-way trip worth every second of it as they began a late-game march.  

Getting it down to the ten with 58.6 seconds left, it took three plays for the Vikings to punch it with a half-minute left off a Colton Stepleton touchdown.  Setting up a crucial two-point conversion to possibly send the game into overtime.

The little 2A team however, clutched up and got the stop of the game.  With Vale trying to do a halfback pass to the Vale side of the field, Carlos Recendiz got the interception to keep Kennedy ahead going into the onside kick attempt.  An attempt that the Trojans would recover as they head to play Banks, a traditional stronghold 4A school that dropped to 3A this year due to school size, in the 3A State Semi-Finals next Saturday at Hillsboro Stadium.

“It was a great feeling right after getting that pick…rankings don’t mean anything.  We were coming into it knowing that they were a good team.  We wanted to play another week, we don’t want to play basketball next week,” Recendiz said. “We got to stay true to ourselves with our feelings.  Sharpen up our coverage, I blew a couple of coverages myself.  We know we’re a great team, we just got to fix our offense and our defense was holding up on the goalline twice.”

Photos By Jeremy McDonald


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