Kennett football blitzes its way past Roosevelt 50-14 in Class 3 state quarterfinal
KENNETT, Mo. - The Kennett Indians defense wasn’t about to lay back and give the Roosevelt Roughriders the time it needed to complete deep passes downfield.
Kennett came out of the gates blitzing Roosevelt quarterback Alonzo Smith from the get-go Saturday afternoon.
“We all came out there fired up,” Kennett linebacker Tanner Duncan said. “Coach Webster is the best defensive coordinator in the game. He got us ready for today and we took care of business.”
The defensive pressure paid off big time for Kennett in the first half. Roosevelt did not convert a first down in the first quarter and threw two interceptions in its first four offensive possessions.
“Our pass rush was on them the whole night,” Duncan said. “It made them chunk the ball up and our defensive backs went and got it when they did.”
Kennett capitalized on the early mistakes by scoring touchdowns on three of its first five offensive possessions as it built a 22-0 lead by the 4:28 mark of the second quarter.
Roosevelt cut the deficit to 22-8 by halftime but Kennett followed with the first 16 points of the second half on its way to a 50-14 victory in a Class 3 state quarterfinal at Metz Cherry Stadium in Kennett.
“I’m so happy for our kids, community, and coaches” Kennett football coach Joel Wyatt said. “It’s so exciting to see the kids with smiles on their faces.”
The Kennett offense provided its defense with a little breathing room before its defense ever took the field. Kennett put together a 58-yard drive on the opening possession of the game that ended when Marsayv’aun Harrell running 10 yards for a touchdown with 8:06 left in the first quarter.
“It was amazing,” Harrell said. “When we scored on our first drive I felt good about things. I knew we were in good shape.”
Harrell scored on the opening drive a couple plays after Kennett converted on 4th and 7 from the Roosevelt 27 when quarterback Bodey Ellis threw a 13-yard pass to Carter Maddox.
“We got great protection from the offensive line and Carter Maddox ran a great route,” Ellis said of the clutch play. “He was just right there to throw it to.”
Neither team scored again until the midway point of the second quarter when Kennett got the ball on Roosevelt’s own 26 after it turned the ball over on downs. The Indians capitalized on the good field position by putting together a two-play scoring drive that ended with Jordan Jarrett running 20 yards for a touchdown. The score gave Kennett at 14-0 lead with 6:33 left in the first half.
Kennett got good field position again on its next drive after Harrell intercepted a pass and returned it to the Roosevelt 15. Shortly after, Harrell ran eight yards for a touchdown to pad the Indians' lead to 22-0 with 4:28 left in the second quarter.
“Our offense was great tonight,” Ellis said. “Our offensive line and skills guys did a great job and Coach Wyatt did a great job calling the plays.”
Roosevelt finally picked up some momentum heading into the locker room.
The Roughriders put together a 76-yard scoring drive to cut Kennett’s lead to 22-8 with 52 seconds left in the first half and then got the ball back when Kennett fumbled it away a few seconds later. Roosevelt's final drive of the first half stalled at midfield as time expired, allowing Kennett to maintain a 22-8 lead at the break.
Roosevelt got the ball first in the second half but turned the ball over on downs at Kennett’s own 39. La’Quez Pulliam followed with a 57-yard touchdown run to pad Kennett’s lead to 30-8 with 8:58 remaining in the third quarter.
“We knew we needed to get off to a good start in the third quarter and we did,” Wyatt said.
Roosevelt fumbled the ball away on its next possession for its third turnover of the day. Harrell, who finished with 18 carries for 136 yards, responded with his third touchdown run of the day of about one-yard to give Kennett a 38-8 lead with 4:41 remaining.
“Coach Wyatt is an amazing offensive coordinator,” Harrell said. “I don’t think anyone in Southeast Missouri is better than him.”
Roosevelt scored once more when Smith ran seven yards for a touchdown with 10:10 remaining to cut Kennett’s lead to 38-14.
Jarrett, who finished with 10 carries for 102 yards, followed with touchdown runs of eight and 28 yards on Kennett’s next two drives to set the final score.
The Indians finished with 481 yards of total offense. Quarterback Bodey Ellis completed three of six passes for 112 yards and the Indians had 37 carries for 369 yards.
“We had a good balance today,” Wyatt said. “We didn’t throw the ball much but when we did we got some big yardage on play-action plays. We were pleased with our run-pass mixture. But things start up front and I thought our offensive line did a good job today.”
Pulliam and Harrell both collected one takeaway.
Roosevelt completed 13 of 26 passes for 158 yards and had 20 carries for 62 yards.
Darrion White paced Roosevelt on the ground with four carries for 35 yards.
Roosevelt turned the ball over three times and Kennett committed two turnovers.
Wyatt secured his 100th career victory as the Indians improved to 13-0.
“I really didn’t know about it until someone mentioned it last week,” Wyatt said. “It was kinda cool to get it on a night like tonight. The 100 wins is a cool thing but at the same time getting to the final four and moving on is more important.”
A paid attendance of 1,240 watched the state quarterfinal at Metz Cherry Stadium.
“It feels wonderful playing at home," Harrell said. “The crowd we had tonight was wonderful. I love playing in front of them. We are hard to stop when we’ve got a crowd like this.”
The Indians will remain at home moving forward.
No. 5 ranked Kennett is slated to host No. 2 ranked Odessa Saturday at 1 p.m. in a Class 3 state semifinal. Undefeated Odessa (13-0) beat No. 8 ranked Savannah 53-31 in its state quarterfinal Saturday afternoon.
“It’s great to be at home again because when you get this far the road trips are really long,” Wyatt said. “I haven’t seen any Odessa film yet but from what everyone tells me they are the real deal. They play in a good football conference. They have a great football tradition and a Hall of Fame coach in Mark Thomas. They will definitely be well-coached and do things right.”
Kennett 50, Roosevelt 14
RHS 0 8 0 6 - 14
KHS 8 14 16 12 - 50
K - Marsayv’an Harrell 10 run (two-point conversion good), 8:06
K - Jordan Jarrett 20 run (two-point conversion failed), 6:33
K - Harrell 8 run (two-point conversion good), 4:28
R - Deablo McGee 7 pass from Alonzo Smith (two-point conversion good), 0:52
K - La’Quez Pulliam 57 run (two-point conversion good), 8:58
K - Harrell 1 run (two-point conversion good), 4:41
R - Smith 7 run (two-point conversion failed), 10:10
K - Jarrett 8 run (two-point conversion failed), 6:40
K - Jarrett 28 run (two-point conversion failed), 2:09
RUSHING - Roosevelt, Alonzo Smith 5-15, Darrius Jackson 2-2, Dajavion Mitchel 4-13, Ali Hall 3-(-4), Darrion White 4-35, Deablo McGee 2-1; Kennett, Marsayv’aun Harrell 18-136, Jordan Jarrett 10-102, La’Quez Pulliam 4-81, Bodey Ellis 4-43, Joquan Williams 1-7.
PASSING - Roosevelt, Alonzo Smith 13-25-2 = 158, Aidan Haynes 0-1-0 = 0; Kennett, Bodey Ellis 3-6-1 = 112.
RECEIVING - Roosevelt, Darius Jackson 6-17, Deablo McGee 4-73, Paul Strickland 1-14, Ali Hall 2-54; Kennett, Carter Maddox 2-45, Tanner Duncan 1-67.