Kennedy can’t slow down Aliso Niguel

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Ray Aldapa tries to get around the outside on a run play. Aldapa scored three touchdowns, including a 95-yard kickoff return.

Kennedy High struggled early and Aliso Niguel took advantage to grab an early lead that led to a 37-20 non-league football win on Thursday at Western High School.

Kennedy (2-8 last year) was coming off a win over Artesia and was looking to improve on a 1-1 record. Aliso Niguel came into the game at 2-0 and was the No. 2 ranked team in CIF-SS Division 9 rankings.

Kennedy was able to shore things up a bit in the second half, but the Wolverines kept the pressure on with big plays that kept the Fighting Irish at bay. Kennedy trailed 23-0 at halftime, but came out in the second half looking to get back in the game.

“We gave them two touchdowns on special teams, … that hurt us,” Kennedy coach Bob Sykes said.

They took the second-half kickoff and turned good field position into a big strike as Ray Aldapa broke free for a 51-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 23-7. But the wolverines struck right back with a 56-yard touchdown run by Eduardo Mayen to push the lead back to 30-7.

Kennedy would get another spark of their own, as Aldapa returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown to cut the lead back to 30-14. But the Wolverines again hit back quick, this time with a 75-yard touchdown on a short screen pass to Max Carvalho to extend the lead back to 37-14.

Despite the loss, Sykes praised his team for playing hard throughout the game. He said there is a lot of character in the players and that the future is bright for the Fighting Irish.

“I thought we played a very good football team and we hung in there,” Sykes said.

Kennedy will play Magnolia on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Handel Stadium. Magnolia will be the home team.

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