On a Friday night, when the winds blew strong and cold through the Valley, Kennedy High put the chill on Dorsey to win, 29-7, in the first round of the City 4-A playoffs.
The Golden Cougars dominated the game on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Jeff Newman threw two scoring passes and fullback Jerome Hill added 123 yards on the ground, including a 63-yard touchdown.
Stacy Ramsey starred on defense for the Golden Cougars, recovering two fumbles. Kennedy held the Dons to 79 yards total offense. Dorsey finished third in the Pacific League. But its losses came against tough teams: Banning, Carson and Gardena. Kennedy (6-3-1) meets Banning in the semifinal round of the City playoffs. Banning pounded San Fernando on Friday, 41-8.
Kennedy rebounded from a 1-3 start to go unbeaten in its last five games and earn a tie with Granada Hills for the Valley 4-A League title.
Friday's match-up figured to be a defensive battle. Kennedy allowed opposing offenses just 82.8 yards a game this season. Dorsey, meanwhile, held powerful Banning to one field goal in a 3-0 loss.
But going into the game, Kennedy Coach Bob Francola was confident that his offense could move the ball against the Dons. He just wasn't sure how the job would get done.
Two weeks ago, tailback Edwin Jones had his best game of the season, gaining 280 yards. In a season-ending victory over rival San Fernando, Newman grabbed the spotlight by completing 5 of 5 passes for three touchdowns.
On Friday night, just about everyone got into the act.
The Golden Cougars took the opening drive and marched to the Dorsey 19, but Craig Fleck missed a 29-yard field goal.
Near the end of the first quarter, Kennedy's defense came through. Ramsey recovered a Winston Aspinall fumble, and the Golden Cougars drove 47 yards for the score. Newman converted a key third down with a scramble for 21 yards. Jones carried it over from the one.
On Kennedy's next possession, Newman hit Dion Lambert, and the receiver sprinted 65 yards for a touchdown. Meanwhile, Dorsey could manage only three first downs. Although Kennedy turned the ball over twice in the second quarter, the Golden Cougars led, 12-0, at halftime.
The Dons showed a brief spark at the opening of the third quarter when cornerback Michael Harris picked up a fumbled pitch and ran it 60 yards for Dorsey's only score.
Dorsey (6-4) had survived the season by keeping the score close and forcing turnovers. On this night, the Dons turned the ball over four times and gave up a safety when called for holding in their own end zone.
Kennedy was favored to win, but Francola expected a tough game after showing films of Dorsey to his players last Wednesday.
"It was quiet in that room when the film ended," Francola said. "Kids left there wide-eyed."
Dorsey, however, may have been weakened by the loss of 17 players--eight of them starters--to academic ineligibility coming into this playoff opener.