The Hercules High football team didn't possess the ball a great deal in the first half of Friday night's Tri-County Athletic League-Stone Division title game against host Kennedy-Richmond. But the Titans took advantage of the chances that they did have.
The Titans ran just 18 plays compared to 35 for Kennedy-Richmond but built a 10-0 first half lead on their way to a 34-14 win and the school's first ever football league title.
"It feels great," Hercules coach Gerald Montgomery said. "I've been here since 2005 after six different coaches in six years and it's finally turned around. The kids worked hard, bought into the program and we earned some respect tonight."
The Eagles (5-5, 4-1 TCAL-Stone) seemed to be in command midway through the second quarter, even though the game was scoreless. But Hercules used a turnover to get the first score.
After recovering a fumble in Kennedy territory, Louis Michael hit Antwuin Powers inside the 5-yard line for a 34 yard catch, then Michael pushed it in from one yard out three plays later.
The Titans (7-2, 5-0) needed just four plays to score on two possessions early in the second half. They opened the third quarter with a four-play drive, capped by a 1-yard plunge by Marquis Davenport. Then after Kennedy got on the board thanks to a 34-yard catch by Raysean Walker, Armani Reynolds returned the ensuing kick 78 yards for a score and a 24-8 lead.
Davenport's second score put the game away, as he returned an interception for 54 yards late in the fourth to make it a three-score game.
For Kennedy, Ernie Timoteo led a rushing attack that totaled nearly 300 yards as he had 186 yards on the ground.
Hercules, a Division III team, receives the TCAL-Stone Division's automatic berth to the North Coast Section playoffs next week and may get to host a game next week. The Titans ended the regular season on a seven-game win streak but could end up as the No. 8-10 seed in the deep division.
With the loss, Kennedy now has to apply for an at-large spot to the playoffs. Kennedy, a Division IV team, should make the 16-team field but will likely have to go on the road for its first game. Regardless, it would be the Eagles' first playoff appearance since 2004, when they made the NCS 2A East Bay bracket.
TCAL-Stone Hercules 34, Kennedy 14
Hercules 0 10 14 10-- 34
Kennedy 0 0 14 0-- 14
H -- Michael 1 run (Fonseca kick)
H -- Fonseca 29 FG
H -- Davenport 1 run (Fonseca kick)
K -- Walker 34 pass from Espinoza (Timoteo run)
H -- Reynolds 78 kick return (Fonseca kick)
K -- Qualls 1 run (run failed)
H -- Fonseca 41 FG
H -- Davenport 54 interception return (Fonseca kick)
Rushing: H -- Davenport 19-110, Bernstein 1-6, Michael 2-5, Bustos 2-0. Totals 24-121. K -- Timeteo 31-186, Qualls 17-81, Island 3-9, McKinley 1-7, Espinoza 3-5, Jammerson 2-3. Totals 57-291. Passing: H -- Michael 4-6-0 87, Powers 0-1-0 0, Dixon 1-1-0 (-1). Totals 5-8-0 86. K -- Espinoza 5-18-1 70. Receiving: H -- Reynolds 2-5, Davenport 1-39, Powers 1-34, Corbin 1-8. K -- Walker 2-54, Qualls 2-6, McKinley 1-10. Fumbles/lost: Hercules 0/0; Kennedy 2/1. Records: Hercules 7-2, 5-0 TCAL-Stone, Kennedy 5-5, 4-1.