Kern gave the No. 4 Owls another dose of motivation Friday night when he tied the state record for touchdown passes in a season early in the first quarter and had a hand in nine touchdowns as the Owls set a Class 4A playoff record for most points by a winning team with a 62-28 victory over Sherwood.
"It was an amazing feeling," Kern said of the record, "just the atmosphere with all my friends coming up and congratulating me and we just know that we're not even close to finishing this and I'm just going to use this as motivation for the rest of the season."
The Owls, who will be seeded no worse than second among the four state semifinalists, will host a game Friday night with the winner advancing to the state championship game Nov. 30 at M&T Bank Stadium.
Kern, who was 13-for-19 for 308 yards passing, wasted no time in setting the tone, hitting Bradley Metcalf with an 80-yard touchdown strike on the first play from scrimmage. His next touchdown pass — a 4-yarder to Garrett Bean — broke the record and Kern kept adding to it, hitting Metcalf again, Darius Clifton and Bean again before the half.
Especially late in the game, the Owls used their running game to set up their passes and Dan Johnson ran 19 times for 226 yards. Although he didn't score a touchdown, he set up several of them, including running for 52 yards in the 70-yard drive that set up an early third-quarter touchdown pass by Kern to Bean.
"Sherwood thought we were going to pass 90 percent of the time," Kern said. "Having a running back as good as Dan and no one really notices it, because we don't run the ball as much, but Dan would be the best running back on any team we've played. Just having him in the backfield with me is such a confidence booster."
Johnson also doubles as a linebacker on a stellar Owls defense that limited the Warriors (9-3) to just 4 yards of offense in the fourth quarter. He had two of five Owls interceptions, while C.J. Nichols also had two and John Morrissey had another.
The Owls, who scored 60 or more points for the fifth time in school history, took a 33-0 lead with 4:59 left in the first half when Kern hit Clifton with an 85-yard touchdown pass.
The Warriors finally broke through on quarterback Jordan Larsen's 4-yard touchdown run. The Warriors scored 21 points in the final 15 minutes.
Metcalf led the receivers with five catches for 148 yards and three touchdowns. Clifton had three catches for 130 yards and one touchdown. Bean had four receptions for 22 yards and two touchdowns.
S 0 7 7 14 -- 28
W 27 14 14 7 -- 62
W—Metcalf 80 pass from Kern (Cohen kick)
W—Bean 4 pass from Kern (Cohen kick)
W—Metcalf 19 pass from Kern (kick failed)
W—Kern 25 run (Cohen kick)