By Jeremy Mcdonald
COTTAGE GROVE, Ore.– Kennedy had their chances in the first half of the 3A State Finals to keep pace with their Cascade Christian Challenger opposition Saturday night.
Despite spotting the Medford-based team a 14-0 lead to start the game off a early fumble and a nicely put together drive by Cascade Christian, the Trojans responded with a Javier Rodriguez strike and used a rare Challenger misfire to set up a Redzone opportunity looking for a possible tie to start the second quarter.
A 2A team, making the move up to 3A, making the playoff run like they did, were knocking on the door of possibly tying the game up with the juggernaut of 3A.
“We couldn’t have done it without the guys on this team. We formed a brotherhood so tight, we’ve come together even if we’re feeling down. We build each other up even when we’re breaking. One last time, it felt amazing, but I wished it turned out different,”said offensive Lineman Briggs Snell of the season.
The Trojan Engine that took down Dayton, Santiam Christian, Vale and Banks this season seemed to, sadly, to have ran out of steam at the worst time as the Challengers got the fourth and goal stop at the goalline to prevent the score before turning it into points. Sparking an 27-0 finish to close out the 3A Title Game and handing Kennedy their first-and-only loss of the season.
Ending the title hopes for the 15 Trojan Seniors who had already not just left their mark with the program, but for the kids coming up behind them
“Oh man it’s great, we’ll have a great program…it’s something for them to carry on and hopefully gets us first-place you know. It’ll be great and I’d love to see that,” Rodriguez said
“I have 100-percent faith in those guys. Those guys will build back next year and be a team in the running. There’s some special guys in there. They just got to build up, work themselves and push themselves. They’ve been led by us and been with us for so many years. So it’s just time, they can do it. I believe in those guys,” adds Snell.
Rodriguez finished with 41 yards on the ground, William Schaecher and Owen Bruner each contributed 31 and 21 yards rushing respectively. Elijah Traeger had eight tackles, Bruner, Carlos Recendiz and Rodriguez all had five tackles each defensively.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald