BigO Tyres


Heart & Guts

Football February 13, 2012 johnwooton 0

  In the aftermath of a 41-19 win over American that put the final mark in the win column for a perfect 10-0 season,...

  In the aftermath of a 41-19 win over American that put the final mark in the win column for a perfect 10-0 season, Kennedy-Fremont senior offensive lineman George Vehikite knew exactly how to explain what perfection meant to him and his Titan brothers.

  “Hard work and heart. That’s all it is,” Vehikite said. “That’s all it takes, too.”

  What made such a historic run so unique can’t be found in the numbers posted by one of the area’s top teams. Instead, head coach Dave Damewood’s postgame team huddle gave a much clearer explanation for why this season has been so special. 

  Hundreds of people, all friends and family, circled the team as it listened to its head coach. School administrators buzzed about, and principal Eddie Velez stepped in to convey how proud he was of his team.

  For a Division III school that hadn’t won its own league title outright since 1972, the 2014 season will forever be remembered as one where community support meant just as much, if not more, than what happened on the field.

  “I can’t say enough,” Damewood said. “At the beginning of the year, if somebody had asked me if we could go 10-0, I’d have said no, you’re crazy. It’s just incredible. I can’t put it into words, really.”

  The win over American was merely one step in a journey that began in earnest over the summer. After going 4-6 in 2013, the transformation into a team that could realistically be in the hunt for a Mission Valley Athletic League title happened when nobody was looking.

  “It all started in the offseason,” senior linebacker Kaya Lacey said. “I think the most important time for us as a team was double days. That’s when we really formed our brotherhood and became that team that couldn’t be stopped.”

  Josh McKinnieWins over San Lorenzo, Mt. Eden-Hayward, Arroyo-San Lorenzo and Hercules got the Titans off on the right foot and prepared them for a league season in which it would ultimately win every game by three touchdowns or more. A balanced offense averaged 49.6 points per game, and the defense allowed no more than 21 points in any league game.

  Scouting reports on Kennedy became trickier and trickier as the season rolled on because any film review would show the depth of personnel the Titans had at their disposal. That depth proved vital in the win over American when quarterback Shane Sanute had to leave due to injury. 

  Running back Kaleem Abubukari, who had already rushed for over 70 yards, stepped in under center and handed off to a trio of running backs (Joshua McKinnie, Braxton Kiester and Tavon Slater) that together with Abubukari finished the game with 387 yards on the ground.

  “Since day one, we’ve been a family and doing everything together,” Abubukari said. “Nothing we do is individual. Everything we do is together.”

  Vehikite credited Damewood for instilling that togetherness, describing him as a “father” to a team that has only gotten closer as the season progressed. The senior captain was also quick to praise Velez for his support, adding that having such an advocate at the top made a big difference for the team.

  Next on the agenda is a home playoff game for Kennedy, because although the Titans received a surprisingly low No. 10 seed in the North Coast Section Division playoffs, the school still gets to host by virtue of being a league champion. No.7 Rancho Cotate-Rohnert Park will provide a tough test right off the bat, but for a team that has become accustomed to making history, that challenge might only be the next step in an already historic season.

  “It means everything, not just to us but to the community and our principal,” Lacey said. “I’m glad we could do this for our school because our school deserves it.”


  TOP TEAMS: Campolindo (10-0), Las Lomas (8-2), Marin Catholic (7-3), Analy (9-1)
  FAVORITE: It’s hard not to peg a team that averages nearly 47 points per game as the favorite, so top-seeded Campolindo fits this bill perfectly. The dynamic ability of running back Nick Fadelli has given Cougars coach Kevin Macy a workhorse in the backfield that he hasn’t always had, making Campo’s playaction game even stronger.
  DARK HORSE: Kennedy-Fremont won its first outright Mission Valley Athletic League title since 1972, finished a perfect 10-0 and was awarded a shockingly low No. 10 seed for its troubles. While the Titans get to host their first round game, the bracket also did them no favors by sending always-tough Rancho Cotate their way. If Kennedy can escape the first round and continue its regular season ride, look out for the MVAL champ.
  PLAYERS TO WATCH: Fadelli is likely the most explosive player in the entire bracket, but don’t sleep on a player Campo might have to come up with a solution for in the semifinals. Listed at 5-foot-5 and 160 pounds, Analy running back Ja’narrick James is one of the most elusive runners in the entire section. His ability to evade defenders and find another gear has produced 22 touchdowns this season.
  FINAL PREDICTION: Campolindo 38, Marin Catholic 31


SportStars Magazine: High School Sports Articles Online SportStars is your go-to source for the very best high school sports articles in California. Player and team profiles, game coverage, health and fitness tips and the largest Camps, Clinics & Combine resource for athletes. We're the story behind the stats.

No comments so far.

Be first to leave comment below.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *