He touched the ball just a handful of times last Friday night at French Field.
But Kentwood senior Bryan Carlson made every one count.
Carlson, a 5-foot-9, 200-pound running back/linebacker, delivered a pair of touchdowns — one on a 22-yard run and the other on a 31-yard interception return, leading the Conquerors past ninth-ranked Federal Way 24-7 in a South Puget Sound League North Division game.
Carlson carried the ball just twice on offense, going for 28 yards.
“He’s been doing it for us all year,” said Kentwood coach Rex Norris.
“He just hasn’t had the touches. He’s leading our defense in tackles (with 55). It was finally one of those things where all the hard work paid off.”
Indeed. Because with the win, the Conquerors (4-2 in league, 5-2 overall) move into prime position to earn its 10th straight postseason berth. A win over Kentridge (3-3, 4-3) tonight coupled with a Kentlake (3-3, 3-4) loss to Auburn Riverside on Saturday would seal the deal for Kentwood.
The win over the Eagles (4-2, 5-2) was the biggest of the season for the Conquerors.
“This was a really big win for us. It keeps our playoff hopes alive,” Norris said. “We needed to play a big opponent and play well in a big game.”
And the Conquerors did just that.
Kicker Matt Bell helped Kentwood take a 3-0 halftime lead on a rain-soaked French Field turf. Federal Way’s George Williams gave the Eagles a momentary lead, ripping off a 44-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
Kentwood then took over in the fourth quarter, rolling off 21 unanswered points — getting the two touchdowns by Carlson and a third by running back Joseph Banks on a 13-yard run.
Darrius Coleman led Kentwood’s rushing attack, going for 128 yards on 14 carries.
Meanwhile, the Kentwood defense held Federal Way star Andre Barrington to 107 yards on 20 carries. Barrington also fumbled twice and was held out of the end zone for the first time since Week 2, when he was nursing a sprained ankle.
Tahoma fends off KL
For the third straight week, the Tahoma Bears weren’t able to find the end zone. But this time, they did find the win column after a two-week absence from it.
They’re on the verge of finding themselves in the high school football playoffs, too.
Britton Jolley’s three field goals supplied all the offense, and the defense came up with key plays time and time again — including a fumble recovery, two sacks and two deflected passes in the fourth quarter alone — as the Bears hung on to defeat Kentlake in a rain-soaked South Puget Sound League North Division game at Maxwell Stadium on Friday, 9-7.
“We just came together and decided to win,” said senior running back Kurt LaFranchi, who certainly did his part with 82 yards on 19 carries, added to Josiah Anderson’s 110 yards on 19 carries. “Kentlake is a real tough team, and they were in the same situation as us (needing a victory). Our defense has been tough all year. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be close.”
Tahoma, which had fallen 35-3 to Federal Way and 10-0 to Kentridge in its previous two games, boosted its record to 5-2 and will be at fifth-ranked Auburn on Friday.
“Kids are resilient,” Tahoma coach Tony Davis said. “They really believe in each other, and that made it easier (to put the losses behind them).”
Like Tahoma, Kentlake also got off to a fast start this season, winning its first three games. The Falcons (3-3, 3-4) have lost altitude since, but remain in the playoff chase.
“We’ll get drives going, but then we’ll fumble or throw an interception. We’re kind of shooting ourselves in the foot,” said Kentlake coach Mike Shepard. “We’re just trying to re-instill some confidence in them. We have some good athletes who can get the job done.”
With four of the nine North Division teams advancing to the Quad-District (SPSL, Kingco, WesCo and Greater St. Helens League) playoffs on Nov. 7-8, Tahoma is in prime position to grab one of them regardless of what happens on Friday.
“We looked at this game as a playoff game,” said Tahoma senior linebacker Justin Hull. “As a team, we’ve been real good about being able to shake off past losses and move on. This was a huge win.”
• Auburn 42, Decatur 21: Senior running back Jeff Gouveia continued to rack up the scores, collecting five more touchdowns in a nonleague throttling of the Gators. Gouveia rushed for 81 yards on 16 carries as the fifth-ranked Trojans improved to 7-0. Decatur fell to 0-7.
• Kentridge 28, Auburn Riverside 6: Alex Tyson scored a pair of touchdowns and the Kentridge defense shut down the Ravens in an SPSL North win.
Kentridge held Auburn Riverside to just 14 yards rushing on 21 carries. In addition, the Chargers sacked Auburn Riverside quarterback John Hakala three times.
• Kent-Meridian 42, Jefferson 6: Artise Gauldin continued to be one of the SPSL North’s premier running backs, going for 284 yards and five touchdowns on 19 carries, leading the Royals (1-5 in league, 1-6 overall) past winless Jefferson.
While Gauldin keyed the offense, Isaiah Walker continued to key K-M’s defense, collecting three sacks, batting down one pass, collecting four solo tackles and two assisted tackles.