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ORANGE COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PREP EXTRA

Kennedy's Defense Measures Up

Fighting Irish return interception for one touchdown and recover fumble in the end zone in a 28-14 victory over Valencia.

October 03, 1998|STEVE KRESAL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Kennedy's defense provided an emotional lift as well as 14 points and the Fighting Irish beat Valencia, 28-14, in a nonleague football game Friday night at Western High.

Kennedy (3-1) was down by a touchdown at halftime, but scored 21 points--14 by the defense--in the third quarter.

"This was a measuring-stick game for us," Kennedy Coach Mitch Olson said, "because we were playing a strong program."

Kennedy had little to measure in the first half as the Fighting Irish had one solid drive that resulted in a touchdown but nothing else and Valencia led, 14-7.

Kennedy had punted on three consecutive possessions, but the momentum changed when Kennedy defensive back Ahmad Wright stepped in front of a receiver for and interception and went 37 yards for a touchdown and a 14-14 tie with 7 minutes 13 seconds left in the third quarter.

The offense perked up as well and Wright was again involved.

Wright, who was wide open because of a good pump fake by quarterback Mark Cook, caught a pass that ended in a 60-yard scoring play and a 21-14 Kennedy lead with 2:27 left in the third quarter.

"[Cook] put it right in the right spot," said Wright, who runs the hurdles for Kennedy's track team. "It was an awesome throw."

The defense accounted for the final touchdown as Valencia was trying to rally. On second and 21, quarterback Jason Annis was pressured by linebacker Mike Knobbe, who chased Annis to the five and knocked the ball loose.

The ball bounced into the end zone and was recovered by Efrain Ramirez for a 28-14 lead with 1:39 left in the quarter.

The Kennedy defense had one last big play when Elwin Maradiaga intercepted an Annis pass at the goal line and raced 88 yards before being tackled by Annis with 2:41 left in the game.

The two interceptions were about the only mistakes Annis made. He was 17 of 24 for 153 yards.

Kennedy's Cedeno Wyatt, playing in place of Joe Magallanes, who was held out for violating team rules, rushed for 102 yards in 27 carries.

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