“Out of pain can come glory.”
That was Richmond Councilmember Jael Myrick’s apt description of the Kennedy High varsity football team, which finished 10-2 overall this year to cap a historic season that saw its first playoff win since 1988.
On Tuesday, the Eagles were honored with a city proclamation. They entered the city council chambers to resounding applause from the community. Myrick, a Kennedy High alum whose mother works at the school, remarked on how the team overcame adversity to win while performing well in the classroom. Earlier this year, their school was rocked by community violence that targeted students, the councilmember said.
“This has been a rough year for Kennedy; people were in a really rough place,” Myrick said.
Despite significant distractions, the school and community watched “in awe” as the Kennedy High varsity team racked up wins. The team also wowed fans in the classroom, with every member earning over a 2.0 GPA.
The Eagles’ success launched at the junior varsity level last year, when the team finished with a perfect 10-0 record while not allowing opponents a single point on defense. More than half of that JV team moved up to varsity this year, along with first-year varsity Head Coach George Jackson Jr., and the success has continued.
A stifling defense and proficient offense led to a number of school records. The team amassed an impressive 4,764 all-purpose yards, scoring 400 points. Defensive end Ryan Robinson recorded a whopping 25 sacks and junior QB Micah Barnes finished with 2,015 passing yards, completing 123 of 176 pass attempts (70-percent).
“You’ve done Richmond proud,” Councilmember Nat Bates said. “Maybe we can get you over there to help out the 49ers a little bit.”
Mayor Tom Butt challenged the team to “come back year after year and bring home the trophies.”
“It hasn’t been an easy road for us,” Coach Jackson said. “But we thank everyone who has supported us. We are expected to have another great season next year. We are striving to do better.”
Photo: Community advocate Rodney Alamo Brown