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Trojans fall to Coquille 38-28 in tough 2A football final

By James Day

Kennedy’s shot at a second Class 2A football title ended Saturday with a 38-28 loss to Coquille at Cottage Grove High.

Gunner Yates, the Red Devils’ standout running back, rushed for an OSAA title game record 388 yards and 5 TDs. Yates, who carried 23 times and only once was stopped for a loss, scored on runs of 55, 26, 74, 61 and 48 for the No. 4 Red Devils, who won their first title since 1970.

Despite Yates’ performance No. 2 Kennedy hung in tough throughout. The Trojans led 14-0 on TD passes from Riley Cantu to Brett Boen and Luke Beyer before Yates tied the game with his first two scoring runs.

Kennedy took a 21-20 lead with 4:05 to go in the third period on a 32-yard pass from Cantu to Stephan Salinas and Charlie Beyer’s third PAT kick. But Yates took over, scoring 3 consecutive TDs on drives that totaled just 6 plays, The outburst gave Coquille a 38-21 lead with 8:46 left in the game.

Kennedy answered once more, on a 3-yard William Schaecher run that closed out the scoring with 6:34 to play.

Cantu hit on 25 of 38 passes for 266 yards and 3 TDs. He added 33 yards on the ground and was named player of the game for Kennedy. Luke Beyer (8 catches for 68 yards), Owen Bruner (5 for 60), Salinas (4 for 59), Ethan Kleinschmit (4-41) and Boen (3 for 39) were the top receivers for Cantu. 

Elijah Traeger (36 yards), Cantu, Bruner (30) and Schaecher (20) were the top ball-carriers for the Trojans.   

Boen had 7 tackles and a fumble recovery to spark the Kennedy defense. Traeger and Cantu had 6 tackles apiece, while Isaac Berning added 5.

Yates led Coquille with 10 tackles and was named player of the game for the Red Devils. 

How they got there

Kennedy came into the championship game with an 11-1 record. The Trojans were a perfect 6-0 in Special District 2 (Tri-River Conference). JFK’s lone loss was to Heppner on Sept. 24. The Trojans advanced to the title game with Class 2A playoff wins against Nestucca (38-0), Gaston (50-16) and Lakeview (21-0).

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