Kearney's bid for another title came up short
By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
Kearney entered the 2010 season with a big target on its back. The Bulldogs were the defending Class 4 state champs and no matter who they played it was every team’s biggest game of the season.
For all of the regular season and the first two rounds of the playoffs Kearney answered the call. The Bulldogs were the best team in Class 4 and carried the No. 1 ranking for the entire season. Kearney’s winning streak would reach 20 dating back to 2009 but the chance for back-to-back state titles ended in the quarterfinals in a close 14-10 home loss to Harrisonville.
Even though the Bulldogs didn’t reach their ultimate goal the season saw marquee wins over Staley and twice over Platte County.
“I would say beating Staley at home in front of a packed house was the highlight of the season,” Kearney coach Greg Jones said. “It was special for me because it was win No. 100.”
Kearney not only beat the Falcons they did it impressively. The Bulldogs defense held Staley to just three points in what would become one of eight games where Kearney would hold its opponent under 10 points. In those eight games the Bulldogs would earn four shutouts.
Two of those shutouts came in the season’s first two weeks. Kearney beat Winnetonka 45-0 and followed that with a dominating 38-0 victory over Platte County. Weather would force the cancellation of the week No. 3 game with Ozark. Kearney would then earn a 67-14 game over Grandview setting up a rematch with Staley who were the last team to beat Kearney in 2009.
The game was one of the most anticipated in the Metro and thousands of people packed into Kearney’s stadium to see the Bulldogs dominate a Class 5 team that would eventually make it all the way to the semifinals.
After that game the Bulldogs continued to roll over Class 4 competition but Jones felt like his team played its best football early in the year.
“I think we hit a peak about mid-season and didn't get any better from there,” Jones said.
In the playoffs Kearney would edge a good Savannah team, beat Platte County one more time before losing a tough close game to Harrisonville.
Even though the Bulldogs fell short the work continues. Kearney had 28 seniors with 16 of those who saw time as starters so the underclassmen will have to work hard this offseason.
Jones said the work has been going well.
“We have to make sure we stay focused and we finish strong and with a purpose,” Jones said. “The offseason is going good and we have just been working on commitment and getting stronger.”
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