Sports

For the First Time in Two Decades, Kennedy Knights Heading For State Playoffs

November 8, 2012 at 1:42 PM

 

PATERSON, NJ – To outsiders, there was little reason to expect much from the Kennedy High football team. The Knights were coming off back-to-back 2-8 seasons. They hadn’t made the state playoffs since 1991. And in recent years there were fewer and fewer players coming out for the squad.

But at the start of the season, Knights’ head coach Ron Jackson had a feeling this team could break through. There was talent at the skill positions and a solid core of seniors.

Sign Up for E-News

In the third week of September, Jackson got the confirmation that his gut feeling was right. The Knights were losing to Fair Lawn 17-6 midway through the fourth quarter and they mounted a comeback. A touchdown made the score 17-12 and then Kennedy had the ball back and was facing a fourth-and-goal situation with the game on the line

“We were going to run a simple option,’’ Jackson said of the pivotal play. “They (the Fair Lawn Cutters) knew we were going to do it. Everybody knew it. And we did it.’’ The play ended in a touchdown that helped propel the Knights not only to that win, but to a season that has put them back in the state playoffs for the first time in more than 20 years.

“I felt we were going to be good,’’ said Jackson. “I just didn’t let anybody know about it.’’

Kennedy, with its 4-4 record, has clinched the eighth seed in the North Jersey Section 1 Group 5 playoffs. The Knights will play either Montclair or Bloomfield. Both teams are 7-0 and Montclair is No. 8 in The Star-Ledger’s state rankings. Passaic Tech seems to have secured the third seed.

Jackson said seniors Miguel Miller and Jordan Henry have been the big reasons behind the Knights’ success. Miller scored three touchdowns against Passaic and had two against Clifton, including the winning score in overtime. Henry, meanwhile, has been a stalwart on defense and Jackson said he’s among the state leaders in sacks.

Running back Shaon Stephenson, who had three touchdowns in the Fair Lawn game, Greg Oliver and quarterback Rason Ison also have excelled for Kennedy.

Two years ago, the Knights were suiting up only about 24 players, including many sophomores, and there was talk Paterson should merge its two high school football teams to ensure there would be a full squad.

But this, Kennedy started out with almost 50 players and still has about 40 on its roster. The extra bodies have helped. But the Knights still have found themselves far outnumbered in their four losses, Jackson said. In fact, he said, Ridgewood, Hackensack and Passaic Tech all had almost twice as many players on the sidelines.

Besides the state playoffs, Kennedy has one other game remaining on its schedule, the annual Thanksgiving Day contest against city rival Eastside High. The Ghosts this year are 2-5 and play Fair Lawn at Baeurle Field at 6 pm on Friday night.

Kennedy clinched its playoff bid on October 27, when its two competitors for the last playoff spot, East Orange and West Orange, lost. But since then, Hurricane Sandy and her lingering after-effects have shut down schools and kept the Knights from practicing, except for a workout on Tuesday.

On Thursday morning, snow covered Kennedy’s practice area at Totowa Oval. Jackson said it would be nice to be able to have money to rent the indoor bubble facility in Clifton for practice preparation for next weekend’s state playoff game. Otherwise, Jackson is just hoping for the snow to melt.

 

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Paterson

Upcoming Events

Sat, October 8, 10:00 AM

Montclair High School, LGI Room, Montclair

Road Map to College: College Admission and ...

Education Other

Carousel_image_e270cb9d396258c74b64_acgwoodbridge

Tue, October 18, 7:00 AM

Apa Hotel Woodbridge, Iselin

ACG NJ Monthly Breakfast Meeting Announcement - ...

Business & Finance Food & Drink

Parents are the Only Hope for NJ Public Education

September 25, 2016

I really wanted to take one of my precious few PTO days I had left to drive down to Trenton on September 7th and tell the State Board of Education how disappointed I was in them, again.... but more important things were going on. There was a Kindergarten bus to catch and a first day of school morning to have and I had already wasted 2 of those precious days on a state BOE that has all but ignored ...

Letting the Jean-ie Out of the Bottle

Sometime between the end of last spring and the beginning of this fall, someone snuck into my closet and shrunk all my jeans.  I tried to convince my husband that we had a problem with the dryer, but since all of his jeans still fit, it was a hard sell.  Without thinking it through, he scoffed and suggested that maybe it wasn't the jeans – maybe it was ...

Train Crashes at Hoboken Terminal; At Least One Dead and 100-Plus Injured

September 29, 2016

HOBOKEN, NJ – An NJ Transit train was unable to stop at the Hoboken Terminal, crashing into the platform during the morning commute. At least one confirmed death, more than 100 people are injured and there was structural damage to the station, according to various media outlets.

At 10:11 a.m., WNBC-TV in New York reported that there was one confirmed death due to the ...

Promote Your Event on TAPinto!

September 28, 2016

Are you having an open house?  A Halloween sale?  Want to promote the happy hour at your restaurant?

Let us help you promote your event, right here on TAPinto.net.

Only $10 per event per TAPinto site!

Include photos and much more: TAPinto.net/events