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Look: Kennedale crushes FW Western Hills in third straight shutout win

The Kennedale Wildcats secured their third consecutive shutout win by crushing Western Hills on Saturday in a 38-0 road victory

FORT WORTH, Texas — The District 6-4A Division I season had been a whirlwind going into Saturday’s pivotal matchup between the Kennedale Wildcats and the Fort Worth Western Hills Cougars. 

Both teams were vying for playoff spots with a win for either team dramatically shifting the district standings with the regular season winding down.

But despite a scoreless first quarter, Kennedale found its groove during the second and cruised to a 38-0 win over Western Hills on Saturday afternoon at Farrington Field.

The victory marked the Kennedale's third straight shutout defensively and helped the Wildcats secure a spot in the Class 4A Division I playoffs by improving to 5-1 in district play.

Kennedale's win also moved the Wildcats into a three-way tie for first place in the 6-4A DI standings with Fort Worth Dunbar and Lake Worth with one week remaining before the postseason kicks off.

“We emphasized all week the importance of this game,” Kennedale head coach Richard Barrett said. 

“We weren’t in the playoffs, and it’s kind of some place we’ve never been but our kids understood the importance of this game and how bad we needed a win.”

Things did not start well for the Wildcats, as on the second play of the game Cam Hawkins came up with an interception for Western Hills. The Cougars responded with a 13-play, 42-yard drive  against the Wildcats' defense, but stalled at Kennedale's 26-yard line.

The Wildcats’ offense quickly drove close to midfield, but a fumble stopped the drive when Western Hills recovered the loose ball just before the end of the first quarter.

Two plays into the second quarter, the Cougars appeared to have scored on a 70-yard touchdown pass to take the lead. However, a flag for an ineligible man downfield brought them back and forced them to punt.

On the punt, Damari Harrell-Jones broke through the line and blocked the kick. The ball rolled into the end zone where Harrell-Jones fell on it, giving Kennedale a 7-0 advantage on a special teams touchdown.

From there, the Wildcats couldn't be stopped. Western Hills went on another long drive, but Kennedale's defense stood tall. 

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Running back Cameron Lyles took it upon himself to drive the offense down to the 18-yard line, where he finished the job himself. Lyles led Kennedale offensively with 129 yards and three rushing touchdowns on 25 carries.

After forcing a three-and-out defensively, Lance Pate extended the lead for the Wildcats with a 26-yard field goal to make the halftime score 17-0.

On the opening drive of the second half, the Cougars tried to thow a pass but Poasa Utu picked it off and returned it to the Western Hills 4-yard line. On the next play, Lyles scored to make it 24-0 Kennedale.

Neither offense could find pay dirt for the rest of the fourth quarter, however the Wildcats did drive down to the Cougars' 1-yard line as time expired at the end of the quarter.

On the first play of the final quarter, Lyles scored his third touchdown of the game to make the score 31-0. Late in the quarter, Harrell-Jones added one more touchdown from 5 yards out for good measure, bringing the final score to 38-0.

Kennedale (6-3, 5-1) will finish its regular season against the Fort Worth Dunbar Wildcats (5-4, 5-1) at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4 at Wildcat Stadium in Kennedale.

Kennedale can clinch at least a share of the District 6-4A DI title with a win against Dunbar, and would secure an outright district championship with a Week 11 victory and a Lake Worth loss to Fort Worth Eastern Hills.

“We want to be concerned with Dunbar,” Barrett commented about the team’s mentality. “That’s our senior night, it’s our parents night, so I don’t want to look too far ahead.”

Western Hills (5-4, 3-3), meanwhile, is still looking to clinch a playoff berth and will try to boost its chances of reaching the postseason against the Fort Worth Diamond Hill-Jarvis Eagles (0-9, 0-6) at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4 at Handley Field in Fort Worth.

The Cougars, who currently sit in fifth place in the district standings, can clinch 6-4A DI's final playoff berth with a win and an Eastern Hills loss to Lake Worth.