Kennedale’s all-state running back D.J. Kirven returned to the field on Thursday night after missing the previous five games and looked like the player that rushed for over 2,200 yards and 40 touchdowns last season.
The Wildcats were glad to have him back in the biggest game of the season.
Kennedale scored on its first four drives and forced five turnovers to beat Benbrook, 52-14, in its final regular season game at Clark Stadium to clinch the District 6-4A Division I championship.
The Wildcats win a district title for the seventh-straight year while pushing their district winning streak to 39 games.
The state’s leading rusher – Benbrook senior Quintan Jackson – was held to minus-4 yards during the opening drive as the Bobcats turned the ball over on downs.
Jackson finished with 15 carries for 44 yards. He came in averaging nearly 320 per game.
The Wildcats (8-2, 6-0) took the ensuing drive 65 yards on 10 plays and capped it off with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Evan Jowers to Carrington Roblow.
Kennedale’s Antwone Parker recovered the onside kick and three plays later Jowers snuck in on a 2-yard touchdown run. A two-point conversion made it 15-0 with three minutes in the first quarter.
The score was set up when Spencer Roof and Micah Conner carried it for 20 and 24 yards.
Benbrook (7-2, 4-1) also turned the ball over on downs on its next two possessions and Kennedale scored two more touchdowns to take a 29-0 lead with 7:08 before the half.
Kirven ran it in from the 6 and Jowers hit a wide-open Roof for 54 yards.
It was 29-7 at the break after Benbrook scored on a 29-yard pass from William Green to Brady Lawson with five minutes in the second quarter.
Kirven, who finished with 27 carries and a season-high 268 yards, added his second and third TDs from 77 and 4-yards to push Kennedale’s lead to 49-14 with 8:45 to play.
Parker scored from the 15 and Craig Shue connected on a 29-yard field goal to cap off the Wildcats’ scoring.
Benbrook, which travels to Castleberry in Week 11, scored its second TD on a 31-yard pass from Green to Brandon Johnson to make it 36-14 in the third quarter. Green led the way with 176 yards passing and two TDs. Brice Hill made four catches for a game-high 89 yards.
Kennedale averaged 250 yards per game and rushed 51 times for 407 yards. The Wildcats gained 531 yards of total offense. Benbrook, which came in averaging 350 yards rushing per game, was limited to 21 carries for 17 yards and 193 total.
The Wildcats’ JD Coffey picked off one pass attempt and Kennedale forced four fumbles, three coming in the second half. Roof finished with 70 yards receiving and Parker added 50 yards on eight carries.