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Grinding for a W

Kennedy overcomes Conneaut

Staff photo / R. Michael Semple Members of the John F. Kennedy defense celebrate after Michael Mauro (16) recovered a Conneaut fumble Friday night at Mollenkopf Stadium during the Eagles’ 6-0 win over the visiting Spartans.

WARREN — With how Friday’s game between John F. Kennedy and Conneaut was going, whoever scored first was going to come out on top.

The Eagles were able to be that team and walked out of Mollenkopf Stadium with a 6-0 win over the Spartans.

“Our kids battled, and they showed the heart of a champion tonight by grinding to get the W,” Eagles coach Dom Prologo said. “We might not have played our best football, but when you’re a good football team, one of the signs is that you can grind and get a win even when you don’t play your best football.

“The team we just played against is a darn good football team, and they showed that tonight. They came out and they punched us in the mouth a little bit, but our kids stood up and punched back.”

Senior Cam Hollobaugh was the spark plug on offense for the Eagles, accounting for 121 of the team’s 203 yards and tallying the only points either team scored. Hollobaugh made an impact on both sides of the ball, including a couple key defensive stops.

Staff photo / R. Michael Semple Kennedy's Salvatore Coletti (1) drills Conneaut quarterback Jake Slayton.

“We’ve got to do what we can on offense and stop them on defense and that’s exactly what we did tonight,” Hollobaugh said. “We had a couple chances, we just couldn’t convert tonight on the offensive end of things. We kind of left stuff on the board, but on defense we were great.”

In a game with a constant back-and-forth battle on defense, Prologo looks to his elder players to make a move when necessary.

“I trust our kids, I trust our senior leadership and I trust that these guys are going to make the plays when they need to,” Prologo said. “They’re going to encourage each other to make sure that we can win the ballgame. That’s who we are, and that’s why we call ourselves the ‘Blue Storm’. We hang our hat on defense, and our defense won us a ball game tonight.”

That move came late in the third quarter as Conneaut was set to tie the game up after driving down the field to the 1-yard line. On a 4th-and-1, just inches away from a score, the Eagle defense held strong and were able to stall the Spartans’ drive and regain possession of the ball.

“I know our kids, I know how hard they’ve worked and I knew they were going to grind,” Prologo said. “Our kids aren’t going to give anything to you, you’ve got to take it. Our kids made them take it, and they couldn’t, and that’s why they won the game.”

Staff photo / R. Michael Semple Gabe Green of JFK makes a reception near the sideline and throws a stiff-arm into the face of Conneaut defender Anthony Nunes.

As the 2020 season was shortened to six games, this match marks the halfway point of the season. With playoffs fast approaching the Eagles have gotten rolling quicker than in years past, which has the team excited.

“It’s great because in the past, with my experience here, we started off a lot slower than we have this year and then we heated up,” Hollobaugh said. “Now we’re starting off hot, so we’ve got to continue that.”

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