Kennedy uses big second half to beat Western


ANAHEIM – Following its unlikely victory last week, the Kennedy football team faced the possibility of an emotional letdown Thursday night against a Western team that had lost six straight games.

The Fighting Irish discovered that challenge was real during the first half of the Empire League game, but fought off the stagnation and ultimately opened the floodgates in the second half of the 31-13 victory at Western High.

Anthony Johar led Kennedy with 231 rushing yards on 23 carries and scored three touchdowns, which came on the heels of his 187-yard, two-touchdown performance in a 27-20 come-from-behind win last week against Pacifica.

Kennedy (4-4, 2-1) and Western (1-7, 0-3) were tied, 7-7, at the half before the Fighting Irish scored three touchdowns in the first eight minutes of the third quarter.

Johar said Kennedy played lackadaisical in the first half against the Pioneers.

“We weren’t with the right mentality like we were last week,” he said. “We came in very slow. We played down to their level. We came in at halftime and we all knew we were playing bad. We came back in the second half with the mentality that we should be hard-working, play to our level, play Irish football.”

On the first possession of the second half, Kennedy quarterback Jordan Jackson spotted Christian Rodriguez alone near the 10-yard line and he finished off the 39-yard touchdown pass for a 14-7 lead.

Johar took over and scored on touchdown runs of 1 and 21 yards to extend the lead to 28-7, and the Fighting Irish were on their way to the easy win many expected.

Johar also broke loose on 51-yard touchdown run with 16 seconds left in the first quarter, giving the Fighting Irish a 7-0 lead.

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