BY TJ COTTERILL
Kentlake limited Mount Rainier to 116 yards of total offense and out-rushed the Rams 327-49 on its way to the 28-0 victory on Friday at French Field to set up what could decide the 4A NPSL Cascade division title against Kentwood next week.
The Kentlake High School football team won’t be sneaking into the playoffs like it did last year.
Not with how loud this defense has played.
The Falcons held Mount Rainier to 116 yards of total offense and got a safety sack, too, on its way to a 28-0 shutout victory Saturday at French Field.
The win sets up a potential 4A North Puget Sound League Cascade division title game between Kentlake and Kentwood next week.
Kentlake (7-1, 5-1 4A NPSL Cascade) would clinch the division title with a win over Kentwood (6-2, 6-0) for the second time in two years, and if Kennedy Catholic (7-1, 5-1) loses to Mount Rainier (6-2, 4-2) next week.
“Kentlake — we’ve always been the underdog,” said Kentlake running back and safety Eddie Edwards IV. “But we want to be the King of Kent.”
Kentlake outrushed Mount Rainier, 327-49, on Saturday. The Falcons entered with the No. 1 defense in the 4A NPSL.
“Every single week we got to come out here and defend that,” said Kentlake defensive lineman Brandon Kelley of the Falcons’ top-ranked defense. “Every other team knows we’re No. 1, we know we’re No. 1 — we got to rep that out here.
“We just fly to the ball and get there — no matter where it is on the field.”
Tony Heimann II led the Falcons with 17 carries for 66 yards as one of five running backs with at least 40 rushing yards.
But Kentlake didn’t make those yards look easy. Eight times it charged inside the Mount Rainier 30, turning it over on downs three times (at the 12, the 26 and 4) and twice throwing interceptions (at the 14 and 19).
But it finally broke through with a pair of 1-yard scores in the second half from Brandon Mortenson and Micah Vaifale and a 4-yard score from Marques Fuala’au, even when it seemed Mount Rainier had built a stone wall at the 1.
“We still left points on the board, for sure,” Kentlake coach Brett Thompson said. “But it’s great having a defense that can continue to get us the football.”
In Thompson’s second year at Kentlake, he’s already secured its second consecutive 4A district playoff berth. Instead of a late win over Kentwood last year to sneak into the postseason, now he has a chance to beat Kentwood for a division title.
“It’s all about the kids,” Thompson said. “We got great guys. They work hard in the offseason and they believe. They do what we ask and they play with great emotion and they play as a family. It makes it fun.”
Especially with a defense like this.
“We’re always trying to pitch a shutout, and we got it done,” Thompson said. “Great team effort today.”
KL – Brandon Mortenson 26 run (kick failed)
KL – Mortenson 1 run (run failed)
KL – Jacob Mancia, Brandon Kelley sack in end zone
KL – Marques Fuala’au 4 run (Tyler Padilla kick)
KL – Micah Vaifale 1 run (Padilla kick)
RUSHING – Mount Rainier: Clark Huakau 12-28; JJ Young 9-20. Kentlake: Tony Heimann II 17-66; Micah Vaifale 8-58; Brandon Mortenson 12-57; Marques Fuala’au 8-46; Eddie Edwards IV 9-44.
PASSING – Mount Rainier: JJ Young 6-16-1-67. Kentlake: Brandon Mortenson 9-17-2-86.
RECEIVING – Mount Rainier: Terrell Grier 3-51; Alex Tanev 1-14. Kentlake: Eddie Edwards 5-57; Trask Rogers 1-11.