The Newark Memorial High football team scored 21 points in the first six and a half minutes of the first quarter and never looked back in a 42-13 Mission Valley Athletic League win over Kennedy at Tak Fudenna Stadium.
The Cougars (8-2, 6-0 MVAL) claimed their first outright league title since accomplishing the feat in 1983 with a 4-1-1 mark. This is the first time Newark has gone undefeated in league play.
"I was really afraid they were going to have a letdown after last week," said Newark coach Rich Swift, whose team clinched a share of the league title last week — the first since 1985. "Some of these kids haven't been in a position like that before."
Newark had no letdown as it took a commanding 28-0 lead with a Mark Morton 9-yard touchdown run with 1:14 left in the first quarter. The Cougars, who earn the league's automatic berth into next week's North Coast Section Division II playoffs, had a 42-7 lead at the half.
In one of his better all-around games of the year, tight end/defensive lineman Damien Banford had two receptions for 21 yards and a touchdown, a two-point reception and a 40-yard fumble return for a touchdown when he stripped Kennedy's Joel Romero of the ball midway through the fourth quarter. Banford also had a sack. Not too shabby for a guy who took last year off.
"I just had to get back into the tempo of football," said the 6-foot-5 junior Banford, who is a center on the basketball team. "I've always had a love for football. I can't stay away from football."
Kennedy (4-6, 3-3) finished third in the MVAL and will apply for the Division III playoffs.
"It's really out of my hands," Kennedy coach Dave Damewood said. "I think we have as good a shot as anybody."
Kennedy quarterback Justin Staley was 8 of 17 passing with 147 yards that included a pair of 60-yard touchdown passes to Atu Ohafi.
MVAL Newark Memorial 42, Kennedy-Fremont 13
Newark Memorial 28 14 0 0-- 42
Kennedy 0 7 0 6-- 13
NM — Tidwell 20 pass from Piven (kick failed)
NM — Morton 1 run (Banford pass from Pivin)
NM — Banford 40 fumble return (Jones kick)
NM — Morton 9 run (Jones kick)
K — Ohafi 60 pass from Staley (Mendoza kick)
NM — Ramirez 10 run (Jones kick)
NM — Napal 1 run (Jones kick)
K — Ohafii 60 pass from Staley (kick failed)
Rushing: NM — Napal 13-77, Morton 12-74, Miller 7-50, Ramirez 5-41, Leggett 4-25, Pivin 1-3, Hess 1-0, Jones 1-0. Totals 44-270. K — Romero 10-31, Ohafi 1-8, Staley 1-(-3). Totals 12-36. Passing: NM — Pivin 7-9-1 91. K — Staley 8-18-3 147. Receiving: NM — Morton 2-30, Banford 2-21, Tidwell 1-20, Tai 1-12, Leggett 1-8. Totals 7-91. K — Romero 3-16, Ohafi 2-120, Mendoza 2-4, Anavillet 1-7. Totals 8-147. Fumbles/lost: NM — 2/2, K — 4/4. Records: Newark 8-2, 6-0 MVAL; Kennedy 4-6, 3-3.