Kentwood, Kentlake tangle for a trophy

A new trophy is up for grabs tonight.

The rivalry between Kentwood and Kentlake will have new meaning as a Covington Crown Trophy will be presented for the first time.

Kickoff is 7 p.m. at French Field for the North Puget Sound League Cascade Division game.

“This is one of those ‘you can throw out the records’ rivalries,” Kentlake athletic director Bruce Rick said in an email. “Our students look forward to this game every year.”

Since Kentwood coach Mike Bush and Kentlake coach Brett Thompson were hired in 2015, both teams are 1-1.

This matchup between the Conquerors and Falcons is a huge event for the city of Covington, Bush said.

“It doesn’t matter what the records are of the respective teams this week because every game is competitive. Either team can win.”

The Conquerors won the matchup last season, shutting out the Falcons 36-0.

“This makes this year’s game the ‘grudge match’ for bragging rights,” said Bryan LaBelle, an assistant coach for Kentwood.

LaBelle is the originator behind the trophy concept for this rivalry game.

He said after running the idea by both head coaches and both athletic directors, all were in favor. He said they were in favor of a trophy that “could unite the community and be a focal point for what has been and continues to be a great ‘hometown’ rivalry.”

Since Kentlake was founded in 1997, Thompson said there has been a healthy rivalry between the schools.

“I love the idea of a trophy that emphasizes Covington as both schools represent the community well and feel a strong connection with the citizens, the organizations and the businesses of Covington,” Thompson said.

Thompson and Rick said many of the players on each team know each other. They have either gone to elementary or middle school together or have played on the Kent Knights together, Thompson said.

“That personal history makes the game even more fun,” Thompson said.

He added this rivalry game has been the last regular-season game for the past seven years, making this even more special for both teams.

LaBelle said Covington Mayor Pro Tem Sean Smith will present the winning team with the trophy. The trophy will feature a crown.

“The addition of the Covington Crown solidifies the rivalry between the two schools and will allow the Covington community to rally behind their two programs,” Bush said.

With this being the first year, LaBelle said the name of the game is still under consideration. It has been referred to as Covington Hometown Game, the Battle for the City Crown.

“We are still trying to find a saying that encapsulates the game, trophy,” he said.

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