Kennedy Charles keeps racking up yards, accolades and wins.

Friday evening at Fitzpatrick Stadium, Charles rushed for 292 yards and four touchdowns and threw for another score as top-seeded Portland defeated No. 4 Kennebunk, 40-20, in a Class B South football semifinal.

The Bulldogs (7-3) will host the regional final at 6 p.m. next Friday against No. 3 South Portland.

After Kennebunk (6-4) cut a 26-point deficit to just 12 early in the fourth quarter, Charles scored his final rushing TD to put it away.

“He’s just electrifying,” said longtime Kennebunk Coach Joe Rafferty. “Once he gets past that first level, it’s ‘Good Night, Irene.’”

“As many times as the ball is in (Kennedy’s) hands, good things will happen,” said Portland Coach Jason McLeod.


After rushing for over 200 yards in the first quarter in last week’s quarterfinal win over Noble, it took Charles almost until halftime to reach that mark Friday, but his brilliance helped the Bulldogs to a seemingly comfortable lead.

Charles put Portland ahead to stay with 7:41 left in the first quarter, as his 36-yard touchdown scamper capped the first drive of the game. He then scored from 42 yards later in the quarter, and a 2-point conversion rush from Reegan Buck made it 14-0.

“Sometimes I have to be patient and wait for the play to develop,” said Charles. “I trusted my line to get the job done and open holes.”

Charles continued to hurt the Rams in the second quarter, first scoring on a 45-yard run, then throwing a bomb deep down the right sideline to a wide-open Buck for a 39-yard TD and a 26-0 lead.

Kennebunk got back in the game with a nice drive late in the first half, capped by a 17-yard pass from Jack Cornell to Jacob Morris, but the Bulldogs took a 26-7 advantage to the locker room.

After a scoreless third quarter, the Rams got closer with 9:17 to play when Cornell scored from the 2. Kennebunk then recovered an onside kick, but the Rams were ruled offsides, negating the recovery.


Charles’ 36-yard TD run provided some breathing room before a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown by sophomore Brody Viola capped Portland’s scoring

“I just read that play and did my job and got the pick-six,” Viola said. “That’s the best feeling in the world.”

Kennebunk’s Jonah Barstow ran for 68 yards and the game’s final score, a 3-yard run. Cornell wound up 8 of 22 passing for 107 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

“Portland played outstanding tonight,” Rafferty said. “They were all we thought they’d be. We played them in Week 1 and they played a lot faster today. They’re a lot better now.”

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