By TONY EIERDAM
KENNEDALE – Kennedale junior running back Juwan Washington rushed for 208 yards and scored six touchdowns, including five on the ground, to lead the Wildcats to a 66-34 win over the Mineral Wells Rams here Friday in the District 6-3A finale.
The loss leaves the Rams with an overall mark of 1-9 and a district record of 1-4. With the win, Kennedale (6-4, 5-0) defends its district championship.
The Rams could not top the elusive Washington, a top Metroplex recruit.
But with almost 2,000 rushing yards in 10 games no team has yet to slow him down.
However, the Rams did not end the season without positives.
The 34 points scored was the most a district opponent has scored on the two-time district champions this season, and the Rams went blow-for-blow with the Wildcats early in the game and tacked on a pair of fourth-quarter scores.
“The kids fought hard the entire game,” Rams head coach Chuck Lawrence said. “We played hard for 48 minutes and never let up.
“Kennedale is a very good football team, and we had a hard time tackling them. But that is why they are the district champs.
“But the kids played hard, again, and I am awfully proud of them.”
Against his toughest opponent of the year, Rams quarterback Caleb Acosta played his best game. The junior had a hand in all five MWHS touchdowns, including three rushing TDs.
After the Wildcats scored on their first possession, the Rams answered the score immediately.
Acosta engineered a nine-play, 77-yard drive that was capped by a one-yard sneak by the quarterback.
Acosta completed three big passes in the drive including strikes of 16 and 20 yards to Tristan Seargeant and a 36-yard completion to Grant Peters that brought the ball to the KHS 1-yard line.
Patrick Folkner’s extra-pint kick tied the game at 7-7.
Kennedale scored the next 10 points as Washington found the end zone for the first time. But the Rams came back with a brilliant play on special teams.
After Kennedale kicker Zane Kottwitz booted a 32-yard field goal for a 17-7 advantage, Colby Kissinger returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards to the KHS 5.
Two plays later, Acosta bullied his way through the Kennedale defense for two yards for a touchdown. Folkner added the PAT kick to cut Kennedale’s lead to 17-14 with 11:52 left to play in the second quarter.
However, Kennedale responded with three straight touchdowns before the half, including scores of 54 and 8 yards by Washington as the hosts led 38-14 at the half.
The Rams received the second-half kickoff and marched 71 yards on seven plays, scoring on a four-yard pass from Acosta to Kissinger on fourth and goal from the KHS 4.
The big play on the drive came on an Acosta improvisation.
Acosta was in the clutches of a Kennedale pass rusher, who had grabbed his right (throwing) arm. But somehow Acosta switched the ball to his left hand and he threw a sidearm, sideways pass to running back Kelly Williams, who took the behind-the-line-of-scrimmage aerial and raced 39 yards for a first down that set up a goal-to-go situation.
“That left-handed pass was absolutely amazing,” Lawrence said. “Caleb made some nice plays (Friday night).”
Folkner added the PAT kick that cut the Wildcats’ lead to 38-21.
However, Kennedale followed with four unanswered touchdowns, including a 60-yard interception return by Chris George.
The Rams closed the scoring with Acosta’s third rushing score of the game and another TD pass from Acosta to Kissinger.