BY MARK KLASS, TACOMA NEWS TRIBUNE
Swamped at Enumclaw’s Pete’s Pool the previous week, Kentlake regained its stroke and overcame mistake-prone Kentridge 38-20 in a North Puget Sound League Cascade Division opener for both football teams Friday night at French Field.
Just ask Falcons quarterback Brandon Mortenson.
“It’s a huge win coming off a loss last week (49-17 to Enumclaw),” said the senior quarterback, who threw two touchdowns in the victory over the much-improved Chargers. “We really needed it for our confidence. We came back and stepped up. Great game.”
Kentake improved to 2-1 on the young season.
The game was in doubt until Kentridge, trailing 24-20 early in the fourth down, coughed the ball up on a kickoff return, setting up Kentlake’s fourth touchdown of the game, Tony Heimann II’s 2-yard run.
Kentride again fumbled the ensuing kickoff return, but its defense stood firm as Solomon Hines returned an interception 83 yards the other way for a score. But the Chargers were called for a sideline infraction – coaches found on the field and in the path of the officials trailing on the play – and the TD, which would have closed the gap, was nullified.
Having to start anew from deep in its own side of the field, Kentridge was forced to punt. Kentlake blocked it, with X-zavier Thomas returning the ball 10 yards for the clinching TD.
Too many penalties, too many mistakes cost the Chargers (0-1, 1-2), who ended the game with its share of injuries.
“I’m proud of the guys. They really battled the whole time. … We had chances in this game,” said Kentridge’s first-year coach Brett Ogata. “Football is such a big-play game. We had some untimely turnovers and penalties that really changed the tide of the game. Can’t take anything away from Kentlake. They beat us.
“We have to learn from this, move forward, and we will,” he said. “This is a team that’s growing. … We got a lot better tonight. It’s a process.”
The loss foiled the performances of Kentridge’s main weapons – the speedy Hines and 6-foot-5 junior quarterback Natano Woods.
Hines grabbed a 62-yard TD pass from Woods, outracing the Kentlake secondary to give the Chargers’ a 20-17 halftime lead. Hines also had two interceptions on the night.
Woods threw scoring strikes to wide-out Ben Victoria (47 yards) and tight end Matthew Paino (24 yards) in the first half.
Mortenson found Jalen Taylor on a 9-yard TD pass in the first quarter and hit Jeremiah Woods for 56 yards and another score in the second.
Carson Lucas’ 4-yard TD run put Kentlake ahead to stay at 24-20 with 10:55 left in the game.