Conquerors win battle of Kent, 30-28
Mikell Everette blocked a punt out of the end zone, producing a safety that was the difference in Kentwood's win.
Special to The Seattle Times
KENT — Just when the value of Mikell Everette seemingly couldn't grow any more for fifth-ranked Kentwood, he stepped up some more.
In a game of inches, Everette's alert, fourth-quarter block of a Kentlake punt led to a safety and two points that were the difference in Kentwood's 30-28 victory Friday night at French Field.
Everette, the Conquerors' featured running back, toted the ball 13 times for 132 yards and two touchdowns and supplied the one bit of dirty work Kentwood needed in the showdown of SPSL 4A North Division leaders.
Kentwood (6-0 overall, 5-0 league) spoiled Kentlake's homecoming with big play after big play, none bigger than Everette's block after a bad Kentlake snap. It resulted in a safety that broke a 21-21 tie with 11:52 left. The atmosphere was electric with 4,000 fans.
"I was coming hard and the snapper threw it over the punter's head, and I knew I didn't want to hit (punter Ryan Archibald), so I got to the outside when he tried to kick it and I was there," said Everette, who got his second blocked punt of the season.
"It's great," Everette said. "It's packed. People were everywhere. It doesn't get any better than this. I never thought it would come down to a special-teams play."
Kentlake (5-1, 5-1) proved it belongs among the SPSL North elite, and had one last chance from its 3-yard line with 1:03 remaining. The Conquerors' Morgan Hasegawa ended the Falcons' final threat with an interception at the Kentwood 19 as the final gun sounded.
"When you play a team with that caliber of athletes, they're going to make you make mistakes and second-guess yourself," said Kentwood coach Rex Norris. "We did some really good things at times. They gave us a lot to go back and work on. We took advantage of a lot of opportunities they gave us, but we also blew a lot of opportunities."
Kentlake's Nuu Vaifale scored his third TD of the game with a diving 18-yard grab in the left corner of the end zone to tie the game at 21-21 at the three-minute mark of the third. Vaifaile finished with 89 yards on 12 carries and three TDs.
Kentwood went ahead 23-21 when Everette blocked the Kentlake punt out of the back of the end zone.
"How about that? He didn't go for the guy, he went for the ball," Norris said. "Talk about a heads-up play. He's a good football player.
"He has football smarts. He's able to maximize his talents."
Kentlake's Caleb Saulo completed 15 of 18 for 211 yards passing and a touchdown. He also ran for a TD.