It was only the league opener, but some people were treating the Kennedy-El Dorado matchup as the Empire League title game.
If that's the case, it's Kennedy's title to lose. The Fighting Irish dominated in every phase and walked away with a 42-21 victory Friday at Valencia High.
Afterward, even Kennedy Coach Mitch Olson seemed surprised at how easy it was.
"That's kind of shocking," Olson said as he gazed toward the scoreboard.
Olson knew his team could beat El Dorado, but he had no idea it would thoroughly embarrass the Golden Hawks.
"We're two totally different kinds of teams," Olson said. "They're more physical and we're more wide open."
Olson couldn't have been more correct. Kennedy had receivers and running backs running wide open in the El Dorado secondary all night. El Dorado (3-3, 0-1 in league) had the size, but it definitely didn't have the speed.
The Golden Hawks appeared at least two steps slower than the Fighting Irish all night. Kennedy quarterback Tom Haas had all sorts of time to pass and he usually had his pick of wide-open receivers.
Haas completed six of 12 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns, both going to Garrett Sabol on 55 and 29-yard plays. Running back Darin Martineau rushed for 131 yards and two touchdowns on runs of one and 49 yards.
"Our offensive line got after it," Olson said. "That was the key. We could throw and run the ball when we wanted to."
El Dorado didn't have those kinds of options. Quarterback Mike Marzicola spent the game running for his life. He completed just nine of 24 passes for 104 yards and threw two interceptions. Marzicola was also sacked five times for minus 24 yards.
Kennedy (5-1, 1-0) led 21-0 at the half and 35-7 after three quarters before it started playing its reserves.
El Dorado scored its first two touchdowns on gifts from Kennedy. Sabol fumbled a punt and El Dorado recovered at the Kennedy 11. Two plays later, DeLonne Kelly scored from the four-yard line to make it 28-7.
El Dorado scored its second touchdown when Kennedy snapped the ball over its punter's head and El Dorado Matt McRae picked up the ball and ran it in from 30 yards.
El Dorado scored its last touchdown on a eight-yard pass from Marzicola to Ryan Long.
Though his team won four of its five nonleague games, Olson said he pointed toward league play all year.
"This lets us know the kind of football that we can play," Olson said. "We've got five sophomores starting and a junior playing quarterback. We've been getting better every week. And we're only going to get better."