Friday Night Lights: Kennedy Edition

For the John F. Kennedy High football team, Friday’s game against Waterloo East Trojans was not more of a game but more of a warm-up for next week’s game against the Cedar Falls Tigers. The Cougars pummeled the Trojans, 49-0, with a continuous clock in the fourth quarter. They managed to score within the first 45 seconds of the game and just in the first quarter, Kennedy was ahead 28-0. By halftime, Kennedy was then ahead 49-0.

 In fact, this Kennedy squad is the first to start 7-0 (3-0 in District 5) in school history.

“You guys have set the bar,” second-year head coach Brian White told the jubilant crew in the locker room afterward. “Right now you are the best team in Kennedy history and you can be one of the best teams this city has ever had.

“You have the ability to do that. The sky’s the limit.”

But White also said he will begin every practice next week showing film of the last play of last year’s game with upcoming opponent Cedar Falls. Sitting at 1-6 coming into that contest, the Cougars scored at the end to close the margin to 28-27 but lost after failing on a two-point conversion.

“We’re going to watch that play over and over,” White promised. “We have 16 starters back who remember what it felt like. A reminder of that feeling should be motivation enough.”

The rout over Waterloo East (0-7, 0-3), on the other hand, amounted to little more than a scrimmage and a chance to get all 58 players significant game time.

It was clear from the start that the Trojans were under-manned and over-matched.

The Cougars scored 45 seconds into the game and then again three minutes later after a shanked 17-yard Waterloo punt. And they just kept scoring, always in less than two minutes of getting possession of the ball.

In the first half alone, Kennedy scored seven of nine times it had the ball. The only stops came on a missed 42-yard field goal try and the time the ball popped out of Dralle’s mitts as he was reaching for the goal.

As it built its 49-0 lead, the Cougars amassed 441 yards in total offense (280 rushing and 161 passing) and picked up 14 first downs.

Meanwhile, Waterloo East had just one first down in the first half and minus-one yard in total offense. (In the second half, with deep reserves on the field, the visitors managed three first downs and 38 yards offense (49 yards passing minus 11 rushing.)

It was a tremendous win, White told his players, but he saidthey should consider themselves underdogs against the traditionally strong Tigers from Cedar Falls. Out of ear shot, however, White couldn’t hide his pride in this year’s team.

“We’ve got great players, great kids and a great culture,” he said. “This is one of those magical years.”

Although, Kennedy won easily against the Trojans, the big talk of the night was how Kennedy’s running back, Tyler Dralle, reached 2,000 yards in career rushing. On his eighth carry of the night, Dralle was able to pick up 27 yards and then another 21 yards on his next carry.

The only drama Friday night at Kingston Stadium was when Kennedy stud running back Tyler Dralle would reach 2,000 yards in career rushing.

With 915 yards last year as a junior and 1,019 so far this year, he needed just 66 more to reach the magic mark heading into the seventh game of the season.

It took Dralle a bit to warm up. But on his eighth carry of the game he gained 27 yards and he picked up another 21 on his next to give him 81 on the night to pass 2,000.

For good measure, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound bundle of muscle scored on the next play from 1-yard out for his third touchdown to put the Class 4A fifth-ranked Cougars ahead of hapless Waterloo East 28-0.

And there was still 2:08 left in the first quarter.

Dralle fumbled at the goal line on Kennedy’s next series but carried four more times on the following possession and scored again from the 3-yard line two minutes into the second quarter.

With four touchdowns — matching his total against Iowa City West in the first game of the season — he sat from then on as his team coasted to a ridiculously easy 49-0 halftime lead that stayed that way to the end with a continuous clock.

“It feels great to get a statistic I can be proud of,” Dralle said of being among the dozen runners in Metro football history to pile up 2,000 yards. “The credit goes to the offensive line, the best five guys in the state in my opinion.

“And the most important thing is we’re winning games.”

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