Friday nights are turning colder and more challenging for the Kentwood football team.
Coach Mike Bush knows as much.
Kentwood look solid, erupting for 21 points in the second quarter to pull away from Auburn Mountainview 49-10 in a North Puget Sound League Mountain Division game at Auburn Memorial Stadium on Friday night.
“Our kids played hard against a really good, well coached Auburn Mountainview team,” Bush said of the win, which boosts the Conquerors to 2-0 in the division, 4-1 overall. “We saw on film they were really physical, and we tried to match that intensity.”
Kentwood took care of business in the first of a tough, four-game division stretch this month.
Meanwhile, the Lions, off to a 2-2 start in September, have struggled to find any successful continuity to their game in October.
Good at times, the Lions misfired when they had big-play opportunities.
“There are times when we are playing well, playing hard,” said Lions coach Jared Gervais. The Lions are 0-2 in division play with more heavyweights looming on the schedule. “It’s that consistency. It’s doing it right all the time.
“Guys would make good plays then we made bad plays. We tackled well then we didn’t tackle well,” he said. “We have to be more consistent and do it every play and not make some of those big mistakes that cost us in the second quarter when the game got away from us, and then we were never able to reel it back in.”
Kentwood took control early.
The Lions drove to the Conquerors’ 35-yard line on their game-opening drive, when Alphonse Oywak stepped in front of the receiver and picked off a Kayde Bodine pass before returning it to the Auburn Mountainview 19. Six plays later, Gabriel Johnson crashed in from the 2 to give Kentwood a 7-0 lead.
“(Oywak) has been watching film. He read it, jumped (the route) and did a great job,” Bush said of the momentum-swinging interception.
Julian Huizar’s 30-yard field goal cut the margin to 7-3 early in the second quarter, but Kentwood immediately answered when Johnson broke free for a 49-yard TD run, stretching the Conquerors’ lead to 14-3 with 6:57 left in the half.
On its ensuing series, Auburn Mountainview’s fake punt went awry near midfield. Kentwood capitalized five plays later with quarterback Jackson Proctor finding Dyllon Daniels on a 6-yard score with 4:34 left in the half.
Following a Lions’ three-and-out, the Conquerors added their fourth TD of the night – Proctor’s 18-yard keeper with 2:35 to go in the half.
Johnson’s 8-yard run extended the lead to 35-3 midway through the third quarter.
The Lions came back with Teagin Child’s 4-yard TD run with 2:19 left in the period.
Kentwood added two more TDs – Proctor’s 47-yard pass to Oywak with 58 seconds to play in the third quarter and Isaac Aselin’s 2-yard plunge early in the fourth quarter.
Proctor completed 18 of 28 passes for 166 yards.
Of Kentwood’s 393 yards of offense, 227 of it came from the run.
“Kentwood is very good,” Gervais said. “They’re kind of looking like the Kentwood teams of old. They’re very, very talented.”
Johnson, a senior who ran for more than 1,000 yards last season, did his part.
“It was a great game. Our energy was high,” he said. “Definitely, we stepped on the gas and kept the pedal down the entire game.”
The Conquerors punctuated the win with a goal-line stand in the closing minutes.
“I loved the way we had that energy in the fourth quarter,” Johnson said. “We made the stop on the goal line … with our backups in. It’s the best feeling watching our backups get in(to) the game.”
Kentwood’s season becomes more difficult, beginning with a meeting with Enumclaw (1-1, 4-1) this Friday at French Field. The Conks host Tahoma (1-1, 4-1) on Oct. 18 before facing heralded Kennedy Catholic (2-0, 5-0) on Oct. 26.
“Of course, we have tough teams coming up,” Johnson said. “All we have to do is get prepared each week. Monday, that determines if we win on Friday.”
Bush added: “It definitely doesn’t (get any easier). Every game gets tougher and tougher.”
The Lions (0-2, 2-3) visit Tahoma this Friday, play at Kennedy Catholic on Oct. 17 and travel to Todd Beamer on Oct. 26.