For the first time this season, Auburn Riverside is no longer in command of the SPSL North.
With a 28-21 victory over the Ravens on Friday night, Kentwood is now the front-runner heading into the final week of regular-season play.
The see-saw game was finally secured with 1 minute, 51 seconds left, as Kentwood senior running back Brandon Sytsma pounded his way in for a 1-yard touchdown.
The winning drive was set up by Riverside running back Joey Lucchesi’s fumble and Kentwood linebacker Makani Mafua’s recovery on Riverside’s 13-yard line.
Lucchesi also fumbled earlier, which Kentwood defensive back Rudy Gonzalez scooped up for a 64-yard touchdown return.
“When you have kids flying around like they were tonight, there is going to be some turnovers,” Kentwood coach Rex Norris said. “Both of these teams are going to head into the playoffs and both of these teams are going to need turnovers to be successful in the playoffs.”
Although Kentwood had the advantage, Auburn Riverside didn’t give up without a fight.
In the game’s waning seconds, Ravens quarterback Kevin Thomson completed a fourth-down conversion on a pass to senior receiver Drew Wallen in the red zone. However, on fourth-and- goal, Thomson was intercepted in the end zone, ending any chance of a miracle finish.
“The Auburn game this year was like this,” Norris said. “We won it in the last five minutes of the game. Last year we had several. We wanted to play a certain way. We’ll feel good about winning or losing by the way they play.”
For Kentwood, the job isn’t over yet. To secure the league title, they must beat rival Kentlake next week.
“When you look back and see the last time Kentwood has won two league championships in a row … not very many,” Norris said. “It gives them an identity. They call them Team 33. Thirty-three years of Kentwood football.”