Kennedy outlasts Eastside in heated rivalry game by Chris Iseman of The Record
PATERSON — Kennedy maintained control of a rivalry that led to some heated moments on the field on Saturday.
The Knights scored two first-half touchdowns and their defense posted a solid showing as they defeated Eastside, 16-6, in the 93rd annual Thanksgiving Day game between the schools.
Kennedy has now won four straight games against the Ghosts.
The Knights had chances to score, but couldn’t capitalize on two trips into the red zone.
“We played kind of how we normally play,” Kennedy coach Ron Jackson said. “But this rivalry kind of brought some other issues of us not being at our peak.”
The intensity of the rivalry was clear through much of the early part of the game with players jawing at each other.
But it boiled over in the final seconds of the third quarter when Kennedy made a tackle for a loss and some pushing and shoving ensued before it escalated into a fight. Players from both teams ultimately poured onto the field before control was restored.
No players were ejected but the officials asked each head coach that the two players from each team who initially came off the sideline sit out for the remainder of the game.
“A lot of frustrations going when [the players] know each other,” Jackson said. “They post stuff on social media about who’s what, what’s what. Next week, the guys who were tussling, they’ll be hanging out with each other.”
Quick start: The Knights scored on their first possession to take an early lead.
Azmir Ivy scored on a one-yard touchdown run and then ran for two points to put Kennedy up, 8-0.
Turning point: Eastside had pulled to within two points in the second quarter when Lamar Johnson, who ran for 129 yards on 18 carries, scored on a two-yard run. The Ghosts attempted a two-point conversion but couldn’t convert.
But Kennedy quickly regained momentum with a big play.
The Knights had fourth-and-7 from the Eastside 12 when quarterback Shaqir Herbert was flushed out of the pocket, scrambled to his right and from the sideline, found Diony Dilone open in the end zone.
Herbert aired out a perfect pass that Dilone hauled in for a touchdown.
Ivy then ran for two points to put the Knights up, 16-6.
What it means: With the win, Kennedy improved to 6-4 for its first winning season since 2014.
The Knights won three of their first four games of the season before losing three of their final six. One of those losses was an eight-point overtime defeat to Clifton and another was a seven-point loss to Passaic Tech.
Kennedy missed out on the playoffs by half a power point.
Quotable: “These rivalries games are always tough,” Jackson said.