Football Goes 3-6 for Their 1967 Season


1971 Kennedy Yearbook

Kennedy player intercepts a pass.

It’s Friday night. People are cheering, the band is playing the fight song, and the cheerleaders and dance team are performing. It’s a football game and the Kennedy Cougars just scored a touchdown. Football has been a Kennedy tradition since the school first opened in 1967. Have you ever wondered what it was like when the school first opened?

The Kennedy football program began in 1967 with Dale Tyron as head coach. The first game Kennedy played was against Cedar Rapids LaSalle. LaSalle has since changed into a middle school and Xavier is the private high school because the Cedar Rapids area has grown. Following LaSalle the Cougars went on to play Dubuque Senior, CR Washington, CR Regis, Iowa City High, CR Jefferson, Davenport West and East Moline High School in Illinois.

“Over the years we’ve become more of an elite program in terms of wins and losses and success,” current head coach, Brian White, said.

Kennedy’s first football season the record was 3-9, with wins against Davenport West, East Moline and Cedar Rapids LaSalle. In the 2021 season, the Cougars went undefeated in the regular season. Finishing as quarter-finalists in the state playoffs following a loss to Iowa City High in the quarterfinals which gave us an overall record of 11-1 for the season.

As time has progressed more, and more emphasis has been placed on the fundamentals of football. Teams watch opponents’ reels to create and memorize different plays rather than simply throwing the ball to your team members and tackling your opponents.

“Football has become a much more technical sport. When I say technical, I mean technology,” said White. ‘We watch a lot of game film on the computer when it used to be a reel-to-reel film. We use technology on the side of the field where we can watch replays.”

Former Kennedy football player throws a pass to a teammate. (1971 Kennedy Yearbook)

The team has a plan in place so they know exactly what they’re doing every day. Every day they start off in the team room watching game film from 3:20 – 4:00 p.m. They start the week off with “Mental” Mondays—this is when their hardest conditioning happens. Tuesday is when they train offense, whereas Wednesday is a defensive day. The team splits off into their individual groups to practice their specific skills. On Thursday, they have a run-through where they run through all the plays they’ve created for the game on Friday

“The speed, everyone is playing faster. The knowledge of the game you can get the kids to play with is greater, just access to workshops, clinics and stuff to get better,” said football alum Patrick Cory.

Not only has our program improved, but the technology used has also continuously improved. Now with new technology, coaches and players are able to watch replays of games on the sideline. Using this new technology, the Cougars watch previous games to study their opponent’s tactics and prepare for them.

“I think it was easier to play football when I played. It was simple. It was maybe one defensive scheme and five or six running plays, five or six pass plays,” said Cory.

Coaches now also have better access to the tools needed to be able to help their players. Football now not only focuses on the team’s record but the safety of the players. If a player is suspected to have a concussion, the Iowa Concussion Law requires the player to leave the field and they must be cleared before returning to play. This law came into effect on April 11, 2011.

“I feel like the coaching is a little bit smarter about the fundamentals of blocking and tackling instead of just relying on the standard, be tough, be physical, run through a guy. We now think more about the fundamental ways to bring a guy down successfully, with safety in mind,” said Kyle Clark.

Football at Kennedy has changed over the years and will continue to change in the future.

All varsity football players in Kennedy’s 1970 season pose for a team photo. (1971 Kennedy Yearbook)