By ERICK WALKER
Another week, another hero.
That proved to be the case again Friday night at French Field for the Kentwood football team.
This time, it was Robbie Morris’ turn. Morris, a 5-foot-11, 165-pound wide receiver/defensive back caught one touchdown pass and supplied a key fourth-quarter interception, leading the Conquerors past Kentridge, 14-11, in a South Puget Sound League North Division game.
The win virtually sealed a playoff berth for the Conquerors (5-2 in league, 6-2 overall).
“We’ve just had role players (step up). Last week it was Bryan Carlson,” said Kentwood coach Rex Norris. “It’s a no-name group of kids who just love playing football.”
Morris made a name for himself in the second quarter against the Chargers. Leading 7-3 with less than 1:30 left in the half, Morris lined up at left guard, then found himself wide open on a 43-yard touchdown strike from quarterback Luke Angevine. Morris, completely alone in a sea of green turf, caught the ball at the 20-yard line and cruised in for the score, which proved to be all the Conquerors would need.
“I lined up at left tackle, but I was eligible (to receive),” explained Morris. “I split the seam and they didn’t see it coming. It was a great play, a great call by our coach.”
Morris came up equally big on defense in the final minute of the game, cutting in front of a Kentridge receiver at midfield for an interception on a 4th-and-5 play. The interception thwarted Kentridge’s final drive of the night and sealed the victory for the Conquerors.
“Coach came out in the timeout and said, ‘This is our season right here,'” said Morris, a senior. “It was big to get that.”
The loss eliminated the Chargers (3-4, 4-4) from playoff contention.
“It’s a tough loss,” lamented Kentridge coach Marty Osborn. “We felt like we had the horses to get it done and the kids battled. We just came up a little short.”
But it was Morris’ touchdown reception to close the first half that left Osborn and the Chargers scratching their heads.
“I am going to have to watch the film,” Osborn said. “I don’t know how the guy ended up being not covered. I don’t know if they did a different formation or what they did. Generally we don’t let guys run free.”
The final result overshadowed another solid performance from the Kentridge defense, which has allowed just 27 points in its last three games combined. The Chargers held Kentwood to just 150 yards of total offense and seven first downs. The Conquerors didn’t manage a single first down in the second half and mustered just 14 yards of total offense in the final 24 minutes.
“Our defense played great tonight, we just struggled to get into the end zone,” Osborn added.
Kentwood played nearly as good on defense, forcing four Kentridge turnovers and keeping the Chargers outside of the red zone nearly the entire night. It was that same defense that helped the Conquerors take an early lead.
Defensive back Devin St. Clair set the early tone for Kentwood, intercepting an errant pass from Kentridge quarterback Brandon Reiter, giving the Conquerors the ball at the Charger 16-yard line just three minutes into the game. Five plays later Angevine plunged in for a 1-yard touchdown run and a 7-0 lead.
Kentridge cut the deficit to 7-3 on a 30-yard field goal from Wes Concepcion at the end of the first quarter.
Kentwood didn’t answer until Angevine connected with Morris to end the second quarter, giving the Conquerors a 14-3 lead.
With 5:42 remaining in the game, Kentridge running back Devin Topps responded, escaping two Kentwood defenders in the backfield, then skirting down the right sideline for a 52-yard touchdown. Reiter then found Brandon Inman on the two-point conversion, pulling the Chargers to within a field goal at 14-11.
That would be as close as the Chargers would get.
It was Kentwood’s fifth-straight win since opening the season 1-2.
“We’ve had must-win games the last five weeks,” Norris said. “We’ve been in the playoffs the last five weeks, that’s what I’ve told the kids.”
And each week, another hero seems to emerge.