By Ryan Buck
A week after an emotional last-second win, the Warren JFK High football team made quick work of an overmatched Cleveland Rhodes squad.
The Eagles (4-0) soared to a 43-14 victory on Saturday at Mollenkopf Stadium. Warren JFK jumped out to a 35-6 first-half lead and never looked back.
Second-year coach Dave Pappada was pleased with his team’s overall performance on the school’s Homecoming night.
“We talked about playing well in all three phases of the game. We felt we played well in the specialties on offensively the last three weeks actually, but our defense played a lot better tonight,” Pappada said.
A week after surrendering two double-digit leads to Girard, the JFK defense forced four first-half three-and-outs.
The Eagles’ defensive game plan centered on Rams tailback Rayshawn Wells. With a spy and strong tackling, they held the powerful Wells to 49 first half yards on 11 carries.
“We focused on stopping the tailback. That kid was a good athlete, 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, and we wrapped him up pretty well in the first half,” Pappada said.
JFK mixed the run and the pass nicely as quarterback Dominic Naples ran the Eagles offense with efficiency.
Naples capped JFK’s opening drive with a 2-yard keeper. Alec Rossi carried nine times in the first half for 73 yards and a touchdown.
Fourteen of their 35 first half points came from special teams. Rob Seger picked up a Rhodes punt at his own 48, broke free from a pack of would-be Rams’ tacklers, and raced down the left sideline for a touchdown and 14-0 lead.
With the Rams pinned back at their goal line, punter Lorenzo Harper punted off the back of Wells, who stayed inside to block. JFK’s Connor Jones pounced on the loose ball in the Rams’ end zone to put the Eagles ahead 28-0.
Next for the Eagles is a Week Five showdown with undefeated Brookfield.
“It’s a big matchup now,” Pappada said.