York Catholic's Jakkar Kinard and Dan Yokemick rushed for a combined 221 yards in their win over York Suburban. The two talk about what helped them be so successful on the ground. Christian Arnold
Jakkar Kinard still gets the same advice from his older brother, Hakeem, before games: "Don't get tackled."
It's a simple message, and an obvious one, but the York Catholic senior running back certainly seems to listen the former Fighting Irish all-star quarterback. Jakkar Kinard led the YAIAA in rushing last season — despite missing time early in the year — with 1,121 yards, and has sprinted right back up to the top end of the leader board with 337 yards in two wins to start this season.
Kinard displays explosive speed, the same speed he flashed in elementary school football when he rocked a mohawk and teammates called him "the shark." The haircut has changed and the nickname eventually evaporated along with it, but Kinard still preys on opposing defenses when he gets into space.
Of course, he's also picked up some good advice from his big bro and learned even more by watching Hakeem play.
“He’s a good all-around football player," the younger Kinard said of the elder. "He’d never give up. That’s the thing I took most from seeing him play.”
While the brothers brought different skills to the game, York Catholic coach Eric Depew sees the same work ethic and team-first attitude in both brothers. It's the type of work ethic college football coaches look for, Depew said. That work ethic helped Hakeem Kinard land at St. Francis University and could help Jakkar earn a college scholarship of his own.
“I want to play D-I football," Jakkar Kinard said. "When I turn on the TV on the weekend, I want to watch college football. That’s what I love. Playing college football has always been a goal.”
The college coaches will continue to turn out to take a look at Kinard, but first he's got plenty of team goals to worry about. The Fighting Irish have their eyes on the YAIAA Division III title and a Class 2A district title
Running behind 300-pounders Liam Landis and Matt Knauer, Kinnard and quarterback Dan Yokemick have rushed for four touchdowns in wins against York Suburban and Susquehannock. This Friday, the Fighting Irish face another Class 4A opponent in Berks Catholic, a District 3 power that won this matchup by 23 points last year.
A win against the Saints would likely go down as the biggest high school victory for either Kinard brother.
“I think we match up well this year. Compared to the previous teams … I think this is the team that probably can do it," Depew said. We can match their size, we have athletes. I believe we can win this, but that’s gonna take a lot.”