Much has been said about the Kentridge defense this season — and rightfully so.
Through seven games, the Chargers had allowed just 188.4 yards per game — tops in South Puget Sound League 4A. With an offense that ranked 17th out of 18 teams, it’s easy to see what the key to their success has been.
They showed their defensive might again tonight against Kentwood in a North Division game that will go a long way to deciding the No. 2 berth to the district playoffs.
But the Conquerors proved they can really bring the ‘D’, too, while pulling off a 13-7 victory at French Field. At one point in the fourth quarter, Kentridge had minus-19 yards of total offense for the second half.
And Josh Smith, Kentwood’s 6-foot-10, 280-pound basketball phenom, proved he can really play football, too. He helped key that defense with two quarterback sacks and two other tackles for loss, totally dominating at times.
Smith, celebrating senior night, said he is having a blast playing football for the first time since middle school. Basketball seems to be the furthest thing from his mind — at least it was tonight. When I asked him off-hand when basketball practice starts (which is Nov. 16), he simply said, “I don’t even know.”
He wants to talk football, not basketball. But I did find out he plans to make his official visit to Washington next weekend. It shouldn’t be long after that he’ll announce his decision between the Huskies and UCLA.
But back to football. This was a win the Conqeurors (6-2, 5-2) had to have to earn the No. 2 playoff berth and home-field advantage — if they beat Kentlake (3-4, 3-3) next week. If the Falcons beat Auburn Riverside (2-5, 2-4) tomorrow, they’d be in position to steal that playoff spot from Kentwood, as both would be 5-3 in division play and Kentlake would have the head-to-head advantage.
Right now, Kentridge (5-3, 5-2) and Federal Way (5-3, 5-2) are tied with Kentwood for second place and if all three teams win next week that tie will be broken by point differential (remember, Federal Way beat Kentwood last week, but lost earlier in the season to Kentridge).
Kentwood needed to win by six points tonight to gain the advantage for the No. 2 spot, and they hit it right on the nose, thanks to a pair of field goals by Matt Bell (including a career-long 40-yarder in the fourth quarter).
As they sit now, Kentridge would be No. 3 and Federal Way No. 4, meaning the Eagles would have to play a pigtail game with the No. 5 team out of the Narrows League a week from Tuesday.
Tonight’s game had a scary moment in the the final minute when Kentwood’s Mikell Everette was briefly knocked unconscious making a tackle. Everette, the game’s leading rusher with 78 yards, came to but was dizzy and was taken from the field on stretcher for precautionary purposes.
I’ll check up on him, as well as teammate Jared Fuller (who went out late with an ankle injury) before next week’s game. Kentwood has had a flood of injuries at running back this season, but is still managing.
Both Kentwood and Kentridge have kinks to work out offensively, but they play defense with the best of them.