By Zack Farmer
Falling behind on the opening play is never a good thing and it proved to be the tone setter for Galileo Academy’s final non-league matchup against visiting Kennedy of Richmond.
Kennedy’s return for a touchdown on the opening kickoff was the first of six scores that amounted to a 44-0 Galileo loss on Saturday.
“We don’t want to see 40 points or 30 points on the board,” said Galileo head coach Mark Huynh. “Playing defense and stopping the run. I think we can do that . . . but we are very, very far from doing that.”
Kennedy’s Rashid Jammerson took the opening kick 76 yards through the middle of the Galileo (1-2-1) special teams unit to give the Eagles (1-3) an immediate 8-0 lead.
“Any time you can get a pick on the board, it’s going to energize us,” said Kennedy head coach Mack Carminer. “But for it to be the first and initial play, I thought that was pretty big for us. That helps us emotionally.”
The Eagles transferred that energy to the running game and they amassed 210 rushing yards in the first half, with NaGee Island totaling 68 yards and two touchdowns.
“We definitely have running backs by committee and all of them run pretty hard,” Carminer said. “We just looked to seize the opportunities they gave us defensively and it started with the run, and we tried to stay with it.”
Island finished with 90 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries, and Kennedy had four runners finish with 50 yards or more.
Galileo’s first three possessions ended in two turnovers on downs and a lost fumble, leaving Kennedy with positive field position. Two of the ensuing Kennedy possessions ended in touchdowns, giving the Eagles
an early 22-0 second-quarter lead.
In the first half, Galileo had five plays of 10 yards or more, but also had six plays that resulted in negative yardage. The Lions totaled just 82 yards off offense in the half.
“We were talking about finishing a drive or a play, a tackle, a block,” Huynh said. “I think the focus was finishing that thing they had to do and I think today they realized they couldn’t do it.”
With the score already 30-0, Galileo had its offense moving and appeared to be in position to get on the scoreboard after a 23-yard completion from quarterback Kyle Nelson to Issac Armstrong, but Armstrong fumbled the ball at the and Kennedy’s Takkarist McKinley recovered the ball and returned it into Galileo territory.
“Deep down, we’re not as tough as we hoped to be or we think we are,” Huynh said. “It goes to show against a bigger, more aggressive team, we’re not that tough.”
K: 11:45 – Rashid Jammerson 76-yard kick return (NaGee Island run on conversion)
K: 1:42 – Jammerson 35-yard pass from Roman Espinoza (Island run on conversion)
K: 11:44 – Island 37-yard run (conversion failed)
K: 7:54 – Island 12-yard run (Ernie Tometeo run on conversion)
K: 8:58 – Jacob Qualls 1-yard run (Qualls run on conversion)
K: 1:30 – Island 7-yard run (conversion failed)