JFK stays unbeaten
POLAND – The John F. Kennedy football team can take a lot from its opponents.
On Saturday, JFK was forced to play a bit faster than they have in several weeks, though they still managed to get the result they were looking for in a 47-7 victory over Valley Christian at Poland’s Bulldog Stadium.
“This was a game where we were forced to play faster than we had to the last couple of weeks,” Kennedy coach Jeff Bayuk said. “(Valley Christian) really gets to the ball. We had to ramp it up speed-wise. That’s what we have to do the next three weeks.
“I tip my hat to the kids at Valley Christian. They played all the way to the end. They deserve a lot of credit.”
As has been the case all season, JFK (7-0, 2-0 North Coast League White Division) allowed very little to the Valley Christian (2-4, 0-2) offense. JFK pushed the VC offense backward to the tune of minus-57 yards of rushing in giving up just three yards of offense. They also allowed just the second touchdown they’ve given up all season – a 90-yard kick return by Jamynk Jackson.
“We do take (giving up the seven points) personally,” Kennedy nose guard Ross Nocera said. “We can’t complain. We came out with the win.”
“We’re disappointed with the kick cover team,” Bayuk said. “We had a few guys we wanted to test out there. We’ll be looking at that on film.”
The JFK defense also contributed two touchdowns – interception returns of 30 and 16 yards, respectively, by Hyland Burton and Dominic Scott – and a safety (intentional grounding from the end zone).
“I was backpedaling,” Burton said. “Coach (Dominic Prologo) told me all week it was like basketball. Coach Pro said to turn. I turned and it was there. There was great blocking downfield. I was looking to the end zone. I saw my men and six men had them solidly blocked off.
“We’re a small team, but we have a lot of heart. We just want to win.”
Burton also added a 26-yard touchdown reception with six seconds left in the first half to give JFK a 28-7 lead at the intermission.
“Hyland just keeps improving,” Bayuk said. “He started as a sophomore and he started last year. He was really feeling his way through. He’s picked it up in the absence of (Jacob) Coates (who is injured).”
Kennedy netted 217 yards on the ground on 40 attempts. Ross Nocera had first-half scoring runs of 6 and 1 yard.
“Ross is our iron man,” Bayuk said. “He goes all the time. He’s our nose man on defense and our fullback as well as a tailback sometimes. As he goes, we go. He’s one of our leaders on and off the field.”
Dan McCartney, who had a team-high 73 yards on three carries, scored from 68 yards out to put Kennedy ahead, 7-0, with 7:20 to play in the first period.
“They’re a good team defensively,” Nocera said. “Our offensive line played a great game. They opened holes and, as running backs, we saw them and went through. I owe it to the guys up front. They did set the tone. They do it week after week. Every one of them goes out and plays hard. They don’t get recognized, but they’re the ones making plays for us.”
Evan Boyd carried 14 times for 50 yards and Scott had 48 yards on six attempts for JFK.
Valley Christian also learned a bit from its opponent.
“I learned I can’t wait until next year,” Valley Christian coach Albert “Butch” Jennings said. “It will give us a full year to work together in the weight room. It’s a mindset that’s spiritual. We were able to measure the bar in our conference.
“JFK sets the barometer pretty high. We look forward to seeing them next year to see if we closed the gap. They have a good coach and they’re consistent in what they’re doing. There are a lot of pluses playing JFK. They’re one of the teams we aspire to be.”