Woodinville buzzsaws Kentridge 49-7 in state finals
Next game is Saturday
by Russ Paris
The Woodinville High School Falcons ripped through the Kentridge Chargers 49-7 last Saturday in a first round class AAA playoff game at Pop Keeney field. This game was built up to be the best of the eight opening round pairings as #1-state-ranked Woodinville clashed with #4-ranked Kentridge. This was to be Woodinville's most formidable opponent to date.
"Kentridge was scouted and they were felt to be the best of the three teams coming out of the South Puget Sound League, if not the best team in the state. They are big, fast, and can run and throw the ball," said Dee Hawkes, former Bothell High School coach.
It was a clear, cold night and the 4,000-plus overflow crowd bundled up to stay warm. Before the game, Kentridge players walked out on the field to show their size. They have several players over 6'6" tall and weighing 325-350 lbs. After they had suited up, putting on their pads and making themselves look even bigger, they ran in front of the Woodinville bench in an attempt to psyche out the Falcons, who in some matchups would be outweighed by 100 lbs. per man.
The Falcons would have none of this intimidation. The bigger they are, the harder they fall, and Woodinville came out buzzing and blazing through the tall timber from Kent. They scored on five of their first six possessions and recovered a blocked punt to take a 42-7 halftime lead. In two periods, Woodinville rolled up 351 yards to Kentridge's 127.
After the first series of defensive plays, the Falcons forced the Chargers to go three and out. Travis Wilson, defensive lineman, was overheard telling line coach Mark Leander, "You know, I hit that big 350-pound guy, and he just kinda rolled over!"
The tone for the game was set early. Woodinville's team speed overwhelmed Kentridge.
"We watched them on film, but had no idea how quick and athletic they were. This is a strong, physical 10-wins-and-no-losses team I brought in here. We weren't ready for this. We have never seen a team run the ball like this. We come out of a passing league and weren't prepared to handle the option brand of ball. Woodinville is a solid team and will go far in the playoffs," said Kentridge coach Marty Osbourne.
Manning the WHS buzzsaw was Senior QB Marques Tuiasosopo, who ran for 201 yards and passed (5 for 7) for 111 yards. Pressure was taken off the QB by running back Pat Conniff, who chopped his way up the middle for 147 tough yards on 17 carries.
WHS marched down the field on nice runs by Conniff. Ryan Prentice stated the scoring at the 8:18 mark of the first period on a 7-yard run. The Curtis Cruz kick made the score 7-0.
On the next series, the Falcons' defensive unit put the Chargers in a 4th and 5-yard situation on the Kentridge 15-yardline. Joshua Tobin streaked in to block the punt and Aaron Erickson fell on it in the end zone for the second WHS score. The Kurt Ahlstrand kick made it 14-0 with 4 minutes left in the first period.
Early in the second period, the Falcons clear-cut the field and blazed for 3 touchdowns in 3 minutes. It started with Tuiasosopo faking a pitch at his own 26-yardline, running up the middle for 33 yards to Kentridge's 41. On the next play, Tuiasosopo faked the pitch, then threw downfield to an open Ryan Prentice, who took it in from the 12-yardline for the score. Cruz's kick made it 21-0.
On the first play after the kickoff, Kentridge fumbled and Woodinville picked up the first of their fumble recoveries. Conniff ran up the middle for 24 yards to the 9-yardline. Tuiasosopo threw a dart to a leaping Barrett Hanson in the end zone, making the score WHS 28, KHS 0.
Next series: same scenario. Woodinville's defense (led in tackled by Tomco's 7, Kertson's 5, and Detmer's 7) stuffed KHS's high-powered offense to 3 downs and another fumble recovery, for first and 10, WHS, from the 35. The QB option-keeper took it down to the 12. Fullback Pat Conniff ran head down, up the middle, looked up, bounced to the outside, and sprinted to the flag. Touchdown, Woodinville.
"Three minutes, three touchdowns. That QB and fullback (Tuiasosopo and Conniff) are the best I have ever seen. They're a two-man wrecking crew," said Osbourne.
Woodinville's defense had not been scored upon in the past six games. Finally, at the 5:54 mark of the second period, the Falcon goal line was crossed. Woodinville had racked up 275 points to the opposition's 0 until the run by KHS's Keegan Dougherty.
Would the Falcons be down after being scored on? Absolutely not! After the kickoff, WHS has first down on their own 11. On the very first play, Tuiasosopo served notice that there would be no let-down with an explosive 89-yard run, making the score WHS 42, KHS 7. This broke Kentridge's spirit, and they were only able to gain 24 yards in the second half. Woodinville scored again in the second half on a 4-yard run by Tuiasosopo.
Woodinville's defense was led by B.J. Detmer's interception and QB sack. Woodinville finished with 501 total yards to Kentridge's 151.
Defensive captain Brigham Tomco said, "Against these 300-pounders, you had to move upfield. You couldn't go latterally on them. The coaches had us well-prepared for this by showing different looks and using a lot of stunts."
Woodinville, 10 wins, no losses, has three more games to win to take the state championship. These young men deserve our support. So Falcons and friends, old and new, let's see you at the Lincoln Bowl in Tacoma this Saturday, Nov. 23 (rescheduled from Nov. 22 due to the snow), for the 7:30 p.m. kickoff vs. South Kitsap in quarterfinal action.