Kennedy routes Van Nuys 42-15 to finish the season with an unbeaten league record
A week after clinching the Valley Mission League Championship, the Kennedy Golden Cougars hosted the Van Nuys Wolves on October 27th, 2023 to secure a perfect season against their league opponents. Ranked in the top 15 in the LA City Section, the Cougars were looking to remain sharp heading into the playoffs on the night of their Homecoming. The Kennedy running game was powered by senior running back Alonzo Fuentes-Gutierrez, who added three more touchdowns to his 20 on the season. Kennedy finishes the season with a 9-2 record overall and a 6-0 league record, as they embrace the challenge of competing in the Division I playoffs after winning a CIF LA City Championship last season in Division II.
The Cougars defeated their Valley Mission League opponents by an average of 27.6 PPG in their 5-game winning streak heading into Friday. Fuentes-Gutierrez and the Cougars ground game had averaged 211.1 YPG on the season & got the night started off with an early touchdown to put them ahead 8-0. After a failed fake field goal attempt at the end of the first quarter from the Wolves, Fuentes-Gutierrez ripped off a big run to set up a short goal line touchdown for his second of the night. Facing a 15-0 deficit early in the second quarter, Van Nuys attempted to stop the bleeding with a 23-yard touchdown run by junior running back Marlon Figueroa.
In an effort to curtail a comeback from the Wolves, Fuentes-Gutierrez led the Cougars to another touchdown drive culminating in his third touchdown of the first half to put his team ahead 22-6. A muffed put from the Wolves on the following drive, put the Cougars in Van Nuys’ territory. This time around, sophomore quarterback Diego Montes ran into the end zone himself on the QB keeper to give the Cougars a comfortable 29-6 lead. The two teams exchanged turnovers before Van Nuys put through a 30-yard field goal to make the score 29-9 in favor of Kennedy at the half.
The Cougars showed off their offensive creativity at the start of the second half when senior wideout Joshua Mondragon ran into the end zone on a reverse sweep run to go ahead 35-9. Van Nuys obtained their second turnover of the night on a fumble recovery by senior Bruce Fuhrman-Chin, but were unable to capitalize off of it, culminating in a bad snap on a punt attempt. Montes scored his second rushing touchdown of the night on a 3rd & 15 to put an exclamation point on the night for Kennedy. Junior safety Jesus Castillo added the second turnover of the night for the Cougars with an interception to close the third quarter.
Kennedy Head Coach Troy Cassidy put his handprints all over his defense emphasizing their ability to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. He states, “It was what we talked about this off-season. We were a 30-front last year. Going to a 40-front, so we could get a little bit more pressure. We felt like we had a strong defensive line and linebacking core.” Cassidy understands the challenge of playing with the “Big Boys” of the CIF Division I Playoffs, “We want to prepare and be ready to go.” Kennedy will face the Cleveland Cavaliers on the road in the CIF LA City Section Division I Playoffs on Friday at 7:00 pm.