Behind a stifling second-half defense, Kentwood’s perfect season remained intact with a 35-13 win over SPSL 4A rival Tahoma on Friday night.
Although Tahoma put a dent in the Conquerors’ armor in the first half with 13 points on 181 total yards, all the Bears’ offensive production seized up in the second half.
Limited to 97 yards of total offense in the final two quarters, Tahoma wasn’t able to find the end zone again and had just four first downs.
“I think our kids just started making plays,” Kentwood coach Rex Norris said of the differences between the two halves. “In a game like this, you kind of feel each other out.
“Tahoma does some really good things offensively coming in and we took that away from them. Then they ran the ball nice and we had to make some adjustments to try to stop that. Some of the plays we were making out in the flat really turned it for us.”
Damon Funk was a first-half standout for the Bears. He finished with 136 rushing yards and the lone touchdown for Tahoma (4-2, 5-3). But only 47 of his rushing yards came in the second half – 35 of which came with the game out of reach on the last drive of the game.
Kentwood’s defense also forced two turnovers in the second half, including a fumble recovery in the end zone for a touchdown by senior linebacker Gerard Jaena. The fumble came as a result of a bad snap.
On offense, the Conquerors (6-0, 7-0) were working on all cylinders; with senior running back Chansen Kalua-Fuimaono carrying 24 times for 177 yards, and senior quarterback Dane Hernandez-Manio going 8-for-16 for 132 yards.
Manio also connected on a 31-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Terence Grady, who broke free on a corner route.
Kentwood’s senior fullback Ryan Dozier pounded in two short-yardage touchdowns off of simple inside handoffs, and senior kicker Mitchell Cox added 11 points with three field goals (long of 39) and two extra points.