When the Kennedy family greeted triumphant wide receiver Joe Kennedy at home Friday night, it's possible that they gave the Springfield (Delco) senior a wide berth.
The superstitious 5-foot-11, 170-pounder said it has become his custom to keep his jersey and pads on until after midnight.
"I got my cleats on, my pads on," he said. "They don't come off until the end of the night."
The smell of game-worn jersey notwithstanding, everything came up roses for the Cougars, who shut out visiting West Chester Henderson, 21-0, Friday night.
The Cougars (12-1) advanced to the PIAA Class 5A District 1 finale and the second round of the state playoffs against Academy Park, which beat Marple Newtown, 26-7, also on Friday night.
The Cougars last made it to the district finals in 2014, a loss to Great Valley.
Friday night, Kennedy caught 10 of senior quarterback Johnny Fanelli's 11 completions and finished with 168 of Fanelli's 177 passing yards.
The pair also connected for two touchdown passes.
Ja'Den McKenzie finished with 69 yards and a score on 22 carries.
Defensively, junior Derek Strain helped the Cougars dominate the Warriors (9-4).
"I think we keyed on the run because that's mostly their offense right there," he said. "We shut that down, and they just had to try and pass."
The Warriors netted just 18 total passing yards and finished with just 70 total yards. In the first half, the Warriors never entered Cougars territory.
Gregory Tamaccio added a late interception for the Cougars.
"Our whole team has a motto called 'needy, not greedy,' " Strain said. "We always need more, and we're never [satisfied]."
Fanelli and Kennedy did nearly all of the Cougars' first-half offensive damage in the air.
Kennedy caught six of Fanelli's seven completions for 85 of the quarterback's 94 first-half yards.
Against the Cougars defense, Henderson managed just 34 total yards, one first down and punted on four of its five first-half possessions.
As for Kennedy's pungent jersey, the superstition began after the team's only loss, Oct. 21 against Garnet Valley.
"That was a real big wake-up call for us," he said. "After that, I'm starting to cherish every moment. I know I only have so many weeks left of my high school football career so I want to take every minute and enjoy it."
But what about the smell at home?
"They don't care," he said of his parents, Ron and Diane Kennedy. "It smells like skunk, I guess. Usually people in my family are there [postgame], and there's food, and everybody's smiling."
Springfield (Delco) 0 7 7 7 - 21
West Chester Henderson 0 0 0 0 - 0
SD: Ja'Den McKenzie 4 run (Jack Coary kick)
SD: Joe Kennedy 16 pass from Johnny Fanelli (Coary kick)
SD: Kennedy 44 pass from Fanelli (Coary kick