Kennedy leads Blue team to blowout Foothills Classic win

Friday, June 15, 2018 | 10:18 PM


Even in all-star games, Poogie loves to boogie.

Multi-talented Robert Kennedy, the small school Mr. Football in Class A and the co-state player of the year, put on a show Friday night in the WCCA Foothills Classic, scoring four first-half touchdowns in the Blue Team's 65-35 victory at Hempfield's Spartan Stadium.

Quarterback Brock Dieter (Norwin) also helped power the Blue's offensive explosion with five touchdown passes.

A Lackawanna recruit, Kennedy ran for 86 yards and three scores, threw for 77 yards and caught three passes and another score as the Blue, which was shut out 21-0 in last year's game at Norwin, built a 45-21 advantage by halftime.

“Poogie has been doing that all year,” Blue and Jeannette coach Roy Hall said. “There were a lot of big, stronger kids up front for us, and that allowed us to do a lot of things. But Poogie's prediction was off. He said we'd score 40.”

Kennedy, the Blue MVP, scored on a pair of 15-yard runs and on a 3-yard run. He made a highlight-reel leap into the end zone on one score and made a 29-yard, finger-tip grab for a receiving score to make it 45-14.

“It was a great individual performance,” Kennedy said. “But it was all because of the five guys up front who blocked for me consistently.”

Hempfield defensive lineman Brock Barnhart was the Red MVP.

The Blue team wanted to play shortened, 10-minute quarters in the second half, but the Red said no because it thought it could rally.

That motivated both teams.

“If every team could come together like this one did, the world would be a better place,” Hall said. “These were great kids, and they loved playing together. My assistants Ryan (Reitz) and Trevor (Petrillo) called the offensive plays. The guys loved it, and that hits home.”

The Blue recovered a pair of fumbles inside the opening six minutes. Bryce Lauer (Franklin Regional) and Ian Smith (Jeannette) had recoveries, and the Blue scored on both.

Tre Cunningham (Jeannette) caught a 24-yard scoring pass from Dieter, and Anthony Cervone (Penn-Trafford) scored on a 43-yard burst and from 30 yards for the Blue.

Cunningham added a 70-yard reception for another score and finished with three catches for 122 yards.

Dieter, who is headed to Duquesne as a preferred walk-on, completed 9 of 14 passes for 240 yards and five scores.

“Dieter is such an intelligent kid,” Hall said. “There were times when he said, ‘Coach, let's try this play or that play.' And it worked.”

Dieter was complimentary of Kennedy. The pair made for a dangerous one-two punch under center.

“He's a great receiver, running back, quarterback and defensive back,” Dieter said. “He's going to get to the next level. It was great to play together.”

Dieter agreed with Hall on the team meshing quickly.

“On Sunday night, we all just came together and clicked right away. All week, we got better and better, and we were feeding off each other. That carried into tonight, and it showed in the score.”

The go-to receiver for the Red was Valley grad Darius Johnson, who pulled in eight catches for 151 yards, including a pair of touchdowns from Hempfield grad Justin Sliwoski, a Pitt walk-on.

Sliwoski threw for a team-high 166 yards.

“It was great being to play on this field one more time,” Sliwoski said of Hempfield. “We knew (the Blue Team) would come out and play hard. They did a nice job. We didn't want to give up and play less time in the second half. Who would want to do that?”

Derry's Ryan Polinsky tossed a 30-yard scoring strike to James Rice (Greensburg Central Catholic).

Dom DiFalco kicked a 30-yard field goal for the Blue.

Austin Gockel scored a touchdown for the Red early in the second half.

Clayton Halmi of The Kiski School and Logan Pfrogner (Belle Vernon) added scoring grabs from Dieter for the Blue.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter @BillBeckner.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at or via Twitter .

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