Expectations are high for the Kentwood football team.
A 31-7 victory at Auburn on Friday night likely raised them even higher.
With a solid group of returners, including three-year starting quarterback Dane Manio, the Conquerors were projected to contend for an SPSL North title.
But those projections might need some tweaking after Kentwood scored three touchdowns in seven minutes at Auburn Memorial Stadium.
“It was really unexpected, especially here at Auburn,” Conquerors coach Rex Norris. “We just had some things really go our way early in the game.”
On Kentwood’s first offensive play, Manio found Terrence Grady 39 yards downfield for a touchdown.
The Conquerors started in Auburn territory their first two drives after big punt returns from Jackson Huerta and they forced a Trojans fumble on the kickoff following Dom Lindstrom’s 8-yard rushing touchdown.
Kentwood started its third series from the 13-yard line before Manio pounded into the end zone from the 1.
“You have to come in prepared when you play Auburn or you will be embarrassed,” Norris said. “I’ve been on the other end of that before. So I’m proud of the way we came out in this one.”
Auburn got little out of its offense and was penalty prone early in the game. The Trojans found themselves down 28-0 in the second quarter when Kentwood’s Kyle Kirkham got the ball on a third-down reverse and hit Huerta in the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown.
“We didn’t come out and play our game,” said Auburn tight end/defensive end Kevin Shelton.
Kentwood led 31-0 in the fourth quarter before Auburn finally got on the scoreboard. Quarterback Brier Atkinson scored on 1-yard run with three minutes left in the fourth quarter.
“We just made a lot of mental mistakes early and gave them things that we never should have given them,” Auburn coach Gordon Elliott said. “You get behind a good team like that and it is hard to catch up.”