Olympia – It’s never good to have an all-state running back out of the lineup, but if Capital High’s offensive linemen continue to play like they did Friday night, the Cougars are going to get their yards no matter who is carrying the football.
Capital, minus Kai Van Sickle to what coach J.D. Johnson labled “a coaching decision,” rolled to a 19-0 win over Olympia behind the big night from backup Conner Kennedy and the Cougars’ line.
Kennedy, a sophomore, rushed for 173 yards, and scored on runs of 3 and 1 yards. Junior quarterback Derrick Becker added another TD on the ground as Capital (2-0) shut out rival Olympia (0-2) in a non-league game before a packed Ingersoll Stadium.
“I didn’t feel we played a complete game last week,” Johnson said of his team’s 29-22 win over Newport of Bellevue. “We needed to put together a complete game and tonight we did that.”
Points were few in last year’s Spaghetti Bowl – a 10-7 win for the Bears – but Capital’s offense needed just 5 minutes to get on the scoreboard.
Kennedy ripped off runs of 6, 7 and 11 yards on his first three carries, and Becker added 26-yard run before punching it in on a 4-yard run for the first TD.
Then, a steady diet of Kennedy runs helped the Cougars take a 12-0 lead at halftime when he scored his first touchdown.
Kennedy gained 100 yards on 17 first-half carries.
“Conner lettered for us last year as a freshman and played a big role in three games for us. I had all the confidence in the world he’d get the job done tonight,” Johnson said. “He delivered.”
Van Sickle, a senior, rushed for nearly 2,000 yards last year, entering the season as one of the state’s premiere running backs.
“It was a coaching decision why he didn’t play,” Johnson said. “Simple as that.”
Becker completed 10 of 13 passes for 103 yards and added another 38 rushing yards on five carries.
Olympia, which failed to score in its opener against Oregon powerhouse Lake Oswego, struggled on offense against the Cougars.
The Bears managed 35 yards in 13 plays in the first half. It didn’t get much better in the second half after losing quarterback Gabe Padukiewicz to a knee injury in the third quarter.
“They took us behind the woodshed tonight and gave us a beating,” said Olympia coach Bill Beattie, who stated Padukiewicz was up and walking following his exit from the game.
“Its a steep learning curve for us, but we will get there.”
Casey Bond picked up 52 yards on 10 carries for the Bears.
Olympia entered the game having won six out of the past seven games against the Cougars but now trails the all-time series, 20-16.
Capital continues its rugged non-conference slate against 4A opponents next week when it plays KingCo power Bothell, a program which has advanced to the state playoffs five out of the past six seasons, posting second-place finishes in 2006 and 2007.
The two teams last met in a 2003 state preliminary game when an undefeated Bothell team hammered Capital, 50-14.
Olympia, looking to avoid the school’s first 0-3 start in more than two decades, hits the road to face Timberline.
Despite being close in proximity, the two schools have not played since 1990 with the Bears last victory in the series occurring in 1988.