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Football: Trojans clinch playoff berth with win

At this rate, the Kennedy football team should consider changing its name to the “49ers.”

For the third time in four weeks, the Trojans put up 49 points against an overmatched league opponent, this time against the Waldport Irish in a 49-12 shellacking Friday night.

The victory clinched the second seed in the Tri-River Conference and the playoff berth that goes along with it for Kennedy.

The Trojans used a masterful game from quarterback Noah Giberson to quickly pull away from the Irish. Kennedy’s junior signal-caller finished the game throwing a perfect 11-for-11 for 234 yards and two touchdowns, as the Trojans relied more on their passing game than their usual power-run attack.

Senior Blake Traeger was biggest beneficiary of the Trojan air raid, finishing with four catches for 98 yards, including a 51-yard touchdown pass to end the first quarter and put the team up 21-0.

Before that, fellow senior Ty Sawyer punched in a pair of scores from four and one yard out, respectively, and he followed with a 12-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to increase Kennedy’s lead to 28-0.

In total, the Trojans built a 49-0 advantage at half time before pulling back and playing conservatively for the final two quarters of the game.

After Sawyer’s third score, Giberson connected with senior Sam Moreno for a 13-yard touchdown. Junior Wyatt Rodriguez scored from 52 yards out, and senior Kevin Delgado added a six-yard score with 22 seconds left in the second quarter for the Trojans’ final points of the game.

Kennedy’s stout run defense once again was flawless, holding the Irish to just 21 yards on 14 carries, as Waldport had to abandon the run and turn to its passing game to play catch up. Irish quarterback Trenton Marquart passed for 208 yards, but completed just 17-of-33 passes and was intercepted twice by Rodriguez and Sawyer. Marquart was repeatedly pressured by the Trojan pass rush, which accounted for three sacks, including a team high 1.5 sacks from Delgado.

With one game remaining in the regular season, the Trojans (5-3, 4-1 Tri-River) will host the Santiam Wolverines (4-5, 1-4) Friday. Santiam is coming off a 46-0 win over Chemawa, but the Wolverines have just one win in conference play and have been outscored 197-56 by Tri-River teams.

While Kennedy has already secured a playoff berth, the team is ranked seventh in the OSAA rankings and on the cusp of a first-round playoff home game awarded to the top eight ranked teams at the end of the regular season.




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