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Kennedy stifles Pacifica after halftime

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

ANAHEIM – Not a lot was being tolerated by Kennedy’s defense Friday night.

During the climactic part of the Fighting Irish’s crucial 27-20 Empire League win over front-running Pacifica, the Mariners couldn’t even muster a first down.

Their scoreless rut in the last 22 minutes of the battle at Western High was the result of constant Kennedy stops – four to be precise – against an offense that had been averaging more than 40 points per game.

“That's just our blue-collar mentality at work,” Fighting Irish linebacker Armando Palacios said. “That’s the way it was at practice all week. We were prepared to put on that kind of performance.”

Kennedy (3-3, 1-1) trailed 20-10 after Pacifica (5-2, 1-1) scored two minutes into the second half on a 17-yard touchdown connection between quarterback Nick Garcia and Matt Moslenko.

As the Fighting Irish started to straighten out their defensive act, their offense followed suit.

Behind running back Anthony Johar's tough 113 yards rushing on 17 carries that included two 6-yard scores after halftime, Kennedy gots its touchdowns from a 13-play drive in the third quarter and a nine-play possession in the fourth. Pacifica never stole back momentum or even had a first down in its final two possessions, thanks to pass breakups by Kennedy’s Spencer Kelley, Christian Rodriguez and Aundre Short.

“We fixed our problems,” said Palacios, who recovered a fumble in the first quarter. “We were a different defense in the second half.”


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