By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/13/21
Just three years ago Kennett was 5-13, and a program that had never even competed in a District 1 tournament.
This year, Kennett won the Ches-Mont League with an undefeated mark and reached the PIAA Class AAA state final – not bad for a team that had never even won a District 1 playoff game.
Saturday at West Chester East, the Blue Demons were handily defeated, 10-2, by Radnor in the PIAA title game. But as disappointing as the defeat was, there was no denying the accomplishment of the 2021 season.
“It (stinks) now, but coming from 5-13 as a freshman and then 13-5 in 2019, we exponentially went up,” said Kennett standout senior faceoff specialist Richie Hughson after Saturday’s loss. “We made the most of it and played the most games possible.
“This is the best team I ever played with and the most fun I ever had playing on a sports team.”
Kennett closed at 22-3, including an 11-0 mark in the Ches-Mont, a semifinal berth in the District tournament and a dramatic 12-11 double-overtime win over Garnet Valley in the state semifinals.
But Kennett’s vaunted offense never got started Saturday. Radnor took a 4-0 lead and after the Blue Demons closed within 4-2 early in the second period, the Raiders’ defense shut out Kenntt over the final 33 minutes, 43 seconds.
“They pressed out a lot and we didn’t take advantage of that,” said Hughson, a First-Team All-Ches-Mont pick signed with Providence. “We would get around the guy and the slide would come, and we didn’t move it well.”
Kennett coach Bob Allvord was emotional during his post-game speech to his players and also with the media. He told his players that the feat of reaching a state final cannot be overlooked – no matter the score.
“It’s tough to have it end this way, but I couldn’t be prouder,” he said. “I am thrilled for what they’ve done for our school and our community. It’s been a great ride.”
Allvord has been involved with the Kennett community program since 2004, when he started coaching in the Blue Demons Youth program. He became an assistant with Kennett High in 2007 and head coach in 2010.
Allvord left in 2013 to follow his son in college lacrosse and returned as an assistant in 2016. This year he was the obvious choice to take over again as head coach when Jim Trowbridge left to become a college assistant at Tampa.
Hughson and Allvord both credited the Blue Demons youth program for the success of the high school team. Allvord said the players on these past few Kennett High teams have created a legacy that can be used to maintain an elite program.
“Being involved with the Kennett program since 2004, I have seen the struggles,” Allvord said. “ I have seen the ups and downs and the ups outweighed the downs.
“It’s easy to get emotional because of that. When you reflect on the tough years and then see the rewards of the hard work, it’s amazing. This team has brought the alumni and everybody back. It’s a testament to the boys and I am emotional about it – there is no other way to be.”
Allvord said Radnor deserved everything it’s gotten.
“Without a doubt that is an impressive team and they are very well coached,” he said of Radnor. “John (Radnor coach John Begier) does an awesome job.”
Allvord said it will be hard to say goodbye to the 2021 Kennett team.
“I keep alluding to how they battled and stayed focused,” he said. “They worked in the off season and it showed this year. This is a tight group and most of these kids have been playing together for 9 years.
“The fact that we’re here doesn’t surprise me, especially with this group. We are for real, we’re not a flash in the pan-type of a program. I am proud of the kids; today wasn’t our day.”