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Kennedy, fast start put Springfield in cruise control

TREDYFFRIN >> In last week’s opening win over Glen Mills, it took Springfield an entire half before the Cougars found their rhythm. Friday night against Conestoga, it only took them a single drive.

Wide receiver Joe Kennedy caught two touchdowns and took a punt back 40 yards for another score in the first half as Springfield sped past the Pioneers, 41-3, in the Central League opener for both teams.

Kennedy caught touchdowns of 19 and 16 yards from quarterback John Fanelli, who only played the first two quarters after the Cougars built a 28-3 halftime advantage. On defense, Springfield (2-0, 1-0) limited the Pioneers to 109 total yards and forced six turnovers.

The Cougars were very stingy in their run defense where they held Conestoga to -6 yards on the ground, including limiting the running back tandem of Milton Robinson and Amani Christopher to just 16 yards combined on nine carries.

Springfield head coach Chris Britton felt his team responded after a lackadaisical performance last week.

“We needed to fix a lot of things this week and we stayed focused with that,” Britton said. “I think we just stuck to our game plan.”

Conestoga (0-2, 0-1) tried to claw back into the game late in the second quarter after quarterback Luca Marano found wideout Peyton Jones on a 61-yard hookup. They would settle for a field goal. Earlier in the quarter, safety Nick Braendel made an interception in the end zone to halt a Springfield drive. He feels his team needs more guys to rally behind a big play when the game starts to slip away.

“It gives hope to the team. We need more of that,” Braendel said. “When you make that play, everybody has to be there to congratulate you.”

Kennedy finished the game with three receptions for 44 yards and those three total touchdowns and he nearly had a third score on a drop on the ensuing possession after his punt return. Kennedy was just happy with the overall game his team put together.

“I knew it was going be a long trip up here to ’Stoga but after this win it boosts mine and definitely my team’s confidence,” Kennedy said.

The Cougars racked up 199 yards on the ground led by Ja’Den McKenzie, who had 10 rushes for 77 yards and a touchdown. McKenzie continued his strong start after racking up 140 rushing yards a week ago.

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