STEVE HANLON: A Devil of a night in Jasper County

2013-09-27T18:00:00Z 2014-06-24T18:00:11Z STEVE HANLON: A Devil of a night in Jasper CountySteve Hanlon Prep Beat nwitimes.com
September 27, 2013 6:00 pm  • 

WHEATFIELD | Don't know what was stranger Friday night in Wheatfield, seeing Kirk Kennedy and Brad Stewart on different sides of the field in contrasting colors?

Or seeing former Griffith assistant Ted White on the same sideline as Kennedy wearing North Judson blue and gold?

Kennedy's and Kankakee Valley coach Brad Stewart's 19 years at Lowell was like peanut butter and jelly. Wait, check that. It was much more like nitroglycerine.

Two fiery guys. Two excellent football coaches. Two best of friends. Too much on this crazy night.

Imagine Don Howell and Tom Kerr leaving Hobart with one taking over at Lake Station and the other at River Forest. Imagine the first time they coached against each other.

It was close to that at K.V.

“We're both driving Chevys,” Kennedy said with a smile. “Neither of us are getting rich doing this.”

What about Kennedy's Harley Davidson?

“He's probably got it parked in his living room,” Stewart said in the pregame chat.

The love on this night was the same the two shared all those years at Lowell, winning the 2005 Class 4A state championship and finishing second in 2007 and 2009.

It was the closest thing to a dynasty “Da Region”has had since Howell and Kerr were at Hobart.

How intense was this family affair? Mickie Kennedy and Patty Kalvaitis, Stewart's significant other for the past seven years, were smiling and talking before the game.

“It's fun, exciting,” Kalvaitis said. “You can be sure that this will be a hard-fought, tough game but both teams will play with good sportsman ship.”

“We were so proud of what Brad did here last year, turning this program around,” Mickie said. “He will always be a part of our family. Outside of this they are the best of buds.

“But they both want to beat each other very much.”

On this night it was all K.V. all the time. The Kougars won 40-6. Kennedy's Bluejays have been decimated by injuries. His sideline looked like a Baptist charter school, less than 25 dressed. The quick turnaround isn't happening.

But remember. Before Lowell drove to Indianapolis they struggled. It takes time.

“It sure feels like my first year at Lowell,” Kennedy said.

Both coaches surely went to “Denny's” after the game, despite the score. OK, Denny's is a code word for them and always has been. The Lowell staff would've gone to Indy every year if eating wings at Hooters' was the qualifier.

It's been going on for years and will continue.

“I just have to keep Brad away from too many Buffalo shrimp,” Kalvaitis said.

“Kirk has always been a wings' guy,” Mickie said.

Be patient Bluejays. Kennedy will get you to fly. Soon.

And Kougars, stay the course. Stewart has you going in the right direction. It's like deja vu all over again in more way than one.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at steve.hanlon@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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