Kennedy Cougars Head Into Playoffs Undefeated

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Annie Haars

The Kennedy Cougars have yet to lose a game in the 2021 season.

Noah Hargrafen, Writer

For the first time since 2015, when they were led by current Denver Broncos tight end Shaun Beyer, the Kennedy Cougars have finished the regular season undefeated. The regular season ended after a 33-25 win against Dubuque Hempstead. 

This season, the Cougars were driven by their defense, which allowed on average of 13 points per game, compiling 18 sacks and forcing 21 turnovers. Seven of those turnovers came from the game against the now-11-seed Cedar Falls, in a 42-14 Cougar victory.

The Cougars’ defense features senior linebacker Alex Koch, who has 6.5 sacks and 51 tackles, 25 of which were for loss in yards. Junior interior defensive lineman Andrew Meyers piled up six sacks and 16 tackles. Junior linebacker Ryker Stelling leads the team with 59 tackles and 12 for loss. The secondary features senior cornerback Jeron Senters, with 5 interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.

Senters has been one to watch all season on an offense that averaged 369.3 yards per game, 34.4 points per game, 29 receptions for 473 yards and six touchdowns. Throwing to him is first-year senior quarterback Carson Blietz, who threw for 1,519 yards on 62.9% completion, 17 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, tripling last season’s 554-yard total. Junior running back Jazan Williams led the team in rushing yards with 893 yards on 200 carries, 10 of which led to touchdowns. The aforementioned Alex Koch was next behind, with 19 carries for 169 yards on the season. 69 of his yards and a touchdown were integral in avoiding an upset to Dubuque Hempstead on Friday, Oct. 22.

In the Cougars’ first playoff matchup, they will face Dubuque Senior. The Rams are led by senior quarterback Jack Gilligan, whose 2,114 yards through the air and 506 on the ground make him one of the more prolific players in the entire state. Throw his wide receiver trio of Walker Tart, Landon Sauser and Hayden Francois into the mix and the Rams’ passing game will be a challenge for the Cougars.

If the Cougars win, they’ll be just three wins away from their elusive first state title.