On the strength of two big rivalry wins over Tahoma (6-2) and Kentwood (6-2), the Kentlake Falcons have secured a berth in the post-season, earning the #2 seed in the SPSL Northeast Division. The back-to-back wins knotted up the playoff race, with Kentlake, Kent-Meridian, and Tahoma each ending with a 2-2 division record. Based on strength of wins, Kentlake earned the #2 seed and Tahoma the #3 seed. The Falcons next face SPSL Northwest #1 seed Thomas Jefferson (6-2) on Friday at 7:00 pm in a divisional seeding game.
Kentlake needed a victory against the division-leading Conquerors, ranked #9 in the state Associated Press 4A poll. The Falcons started off quickly, successfully executing an onside kick to open the game, leading to a 6 yard TD run by senior quarterback Cody Faulkner. A two point conversion pass from Faulkner to Marques Fuala’au was successful. After kicking off, Kentlake held Kentwood to a three-and-out on their first possession, then drove the length of the field capped by a 7 yard TD run by junior Trask Rogers. With a successful PAT from kicker Tyler Padilla, the first quarter finished with Falcons leading 15-0.
Kentwood responded in the second quarter with two long scrambles from senior quarterback Brian Campbell leading to a 6 yard TD pass to senior Conner Benson. The two point try was no good. Kentlake responded with a 65 yard drive, finished by a 9 yard TD run by Jacob Mancia. The Falcons defense held strong in the second quarter, forcing two more three-and-out’s as well as a turnover on downs inside the Kentlake 20 yard line. The score at halftime favored the Falcons, 22-6.
Following halftime adjustments, both defenses dug in as the teams exchanged multiple possessions. Kentwood put together a solid drive near the end of the quarter, capped by a 1 yard QB sneak by Brian Campbell. The touchdown and PAT made it a one score game, with the score at the end of the third quarter narrowed to 22-14, Kentlake.
The Kentlake offense took over in the fourth quarter, with a steady pace of inside rushing and quarterback keepers. Senior RB Andrew Dixon, in his first game back from a significant knee injury, scored twice in the fourth quarter to extend the Falcons lead. Down three scores with less than 5:00 minutes remaining, Kentwood was unable to make any big plays to rally. The Conks drove and scored one final touchdown, but the clock and Kentlake defense allowed no more. Kentlake was able to grind out the clock and end the game in victory formation. The final score was Kentlake 36, Kentwood 21.
Kentlake played an exceptionally clean game, with a single penalty, no turnovers, and only one punt. The offense was efficient and effective, with the experienced offensive line controlling the line of scrimmage. The Falcons rushed for 305 yards and five touchdowns on the night. The Kentlake defense played arguably their best game of the season, swarming to the ball without giving up any big plays.
Kentlake next faces Thomas Jefferson, who has put together a fine season and a 6-2 record with losses only to Graham-Kapowsin and Kentwood. The game kicks off at 7:00 pm at Federal Way Memorial Stadium. The result of this game will determine the Falcons matchup for the regional playoffs.