By Doug Chapin
After battling injury problems all season and suffering close losses in three of the last four weeks, the John F. Kennedy High football team was in need of something positive.
They got it Friday night at Mollenkopf Stadium in the form of a 29-12 victory over Ashtabula Edgewood. The Eagles (2-5) even managed to turn a close game into a rout with two scores midway through the final quarter.
“There’s nothing like a win when you’re 1-5,” said head coach Tony Napolet. “I give a lot of credit to our coaches and the kids. It was a great win.
“When you have adversity in football that constitutes losses, when you have injuries that constitute losses, anything you can grab hold of to get a win is a win.”
The touchdown that put JFK ahead for good came at the end of an 87-yard, 16-play drive which consumed six minutes. The Eagles converted two third-downs and a fourth-down play on which Robert Seger made a tough catch on the sideline.
That reception put the ball at the Edgewood 10, and two 5-yard runs by Mark Fordeley (17 carries, 84 yards) had the ball in the end zone. Zack Nicholas ran for the two-point conversion and the Eagles held a 15-12 lead with 9:24 remaining in the half.
Fordeley also scored Kennedy’s first touchdown on a 47-yard screen pass from Bryce Baker.
Edgewood (3-4) scored twice in the first quarter on a 64-yard run by quarterback Peter Mackey on an option, and on a short field after recovering a fumble at the Kennedy 34. After that, the JFK defense only allowed three first downs the rest of the game.
“We adjusted defensively at halftime,” Napolet said. “They did run the option for a touchdown because we didn’t execute our principles. The end has the quarterback and the corner has the pitch and we didn’t do that. But we are so happy to have the win.”
The Eagles put the game away with their own short-field drive midway through the fourth quarter. Patrick Kale recovered an Edgewood fumble at the Warrior 28. Six plays later, Nicholas scored from the 2-yard line for a 22-12 JFK lead.
Andre Jethroe put the finishing touches on the victory, running back an interception into the end zone from 32 yards out. He batted the pass at the line of scrimmage and managed to hold on to it, then broke a tackle, raced down the sideline and beat the Edgewood quarterback to the pylon.
Baker completed 13-of-18 attempts for JFK for 198 yards. Carl Broadbent had six catches for 49 yards and Martae Hainesworth grabbed two passes for 78 yards.