Kennedy football’s postseason run came to an end Saturday night in East Los Angeles.
The Thunderbirds traveled to Garfield High School and fell, 42-10, in the CIF SoCal Division 4A regional game.
Kennedy finishes the season with a 13-2 overall record, while Garfield is now 13-1 on the year. The Bulldogs advance to the State Final, which is scheduled for Dec. 15.
After Garfield scored the first touchdown of the night with 4:49 remaining in the first quarter, Kennedy answered with a field goal early in the second quarter to make it 7-3.
From there, it was all Garfield. The Bulldogs ripped off three consecutive touchdowns before Kennedy running back Tyreak Walker found the endzone to make it 28-10 at halftime.
Garfield applied two haymakers coming out of the locker room, however. The first was a 60-yard touchdown pass with 6:43 remaining in the third quarter to make the score 34-10. Then, moments later, Kennedy fumbled on the ensuing possession and the Bulldogs recovered the football for a touchdown, going ahead 42-10.
“Bottom line, that was a very physical group that we played," said Kennedy head coach Mario Millan. "That was much more than we normally see. We see teams that have a couple of guys that size and that physical. But that was a whole group of them….We just weren’t accustomed to that.”
When it's all said and done, this season remains one to remember for the Thunderbirds. The team finished second in the South Sequoia League and had an epic postseason run that saw them return to the state playoffs for the first time since 2015.
The Thunderbirds streak included a magical run through the Central Section Division V playoff bracket, which included a 73-19 win at No. 2-seed Caruthers in the semifinals and a 30-28 victory at No. 1 and previously undefeated Shafter — Kennedy’s SSL rival — in the championship game.
It was Millan’s first year as head coach, after he served as a longtime assistant under previous Thunderbirds head man Dennis Moody. The team had a number of standouts on this year’s squad, including Walker who rushed for well over 2,000 yards this season and scored over 30 touchdowns. Yoncanni Sandoval also rushed for over 1,000 yards out of the Thunderbirds' Wing-T offense.
Millan added that the 13 wins and five league wins were also program records.
“We set a lot of school highlight reels,” Millan said. “Overall, these guys moved the bar up….Continued to push the bar forward for this program.”