FOOTBALL: Tahoma takes advantage, thumps K-M; KL falls to Federal Way

  • BY Wire Service
  • Saturday, September 26, 2009 2:23am
  • NewsSports

The tone was set early for the Tahoma High football team Friday night at French Field.

And it was all to the Bears' liking.

Thanks to three early Kent-Meridian turnovers, Tahoma cruised to a 27-0 first-quarter lead and never looked back, drilling the Royals 47-23 in a South Puget Sound League North Division game.

Kent-Meridian fumbled on its first three possessions, leading to an instant 21-0 Tahoma lead less than five minutes into the game, ending any ideas the Royals had of an upset. Kent-Meridian hasn't beaten Tahoma since 1998.

“The first two turnovers (by Kent-Meridian) were huge,” said Tahoma linebacker Nick Bayer, who recovered one fumble and intercepted a pass in the win. “The turnovers really set the tone.”

Kent-Meridian (0-4) will try and pick up the pieces at 7 p.m. Friday night, when it plays host to Kentwood (1-1) at French Field. Tahoma (3-1) plays at Federal Way (1-2) on Friday at 7 p.m.

On Friday night, however, it was all about the early turnovers.

Tahoma running back Tyler Phippen turned K-M's first fumble, a miscue that was recovered by Zach Dopps, into a 42-yard touchdown run up the middle one play later. Bayer recovered K-M's following fumble, which was turned into points seven plays later on a 7-yard scamper from Niko Madison. The Royals then fumbled the following kickoff, a slip-up that was recovered by Caleb Holloway, that was turned into an 8-yard touchdown run from Phippen.

“All four games, that's how we started,” lamented K-M coach Trevor Roberts. “In Week 1, Week 2, Week 3 and now Week 4, we're down 14 or 20 points instantly. We battle and our kids have proven they can stay in there until the end. But it's frustrating to keep getting down in the hole like that.”

Tahoma (3-1 in league play) pushed its lead to 27-0 with 40 seconds remaining in the first quarter, when quarterback Travis Montoya found Phippen on a rollout pattern for a 20-yard score.

Kent-Meridian (0-4) outscored the Bears 23-20 the rest of the way, but it was much too little and much too late.

Phippen finished with 136 yards and two rushing touchdowns on 17 carries and added the one scoring reception as well. Phippen, however, was hardly Tahoma's lone weapon. Jeff Thompson added 158 yards on 17 carries, including a 63-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Tahoma finished with 389 yards of total offense, 365 of which came on the ground on 52 carries.

“It was really good for our offensive line because last week (a 21-14 loss to Kentwood) wasn't our best game,” Phippen said. “Today, they just made a little bit bigger holes and I was able to run through them.”

The loss overshadowed an otherwise solid night by Kent-Meridian quarterback David Jones, who rushed for 159 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. He also completed 10 of 25 passes for 138 yards and a score.

“He's an incredible player,” Roberts said of Jones.

The difference, however, was the fact that K-M could not stop Tahoma's offense the entire night. The bigger, more physical Bears dominated the line-of-scrimmage, which led to 19 first downs.

“The defense has got to step up and make plays out there,” said Jones. “We need to make a statement out there on the first drive. We have to make our presence known. Some people were just over confident. And when you're over confident, things like (turnovers) happen to you.”

Kent-Meridian did show a quick-strike offense in the second quarter, finding the end zone twice in a matter of 40 seconds. Jones scored the first touchdown on an 84-yard run. After a successful on-sides kick, K-M regained possession and scored again seconds later when Jones found Larren Wright for a 44-yard touchdown, cutting the deficit to 27-13.

The Royals would get no closer.

• Federal Way 49, Kentlake 14: The Eagles (1-2 in league play) bolted out to a 21-0 lead and never looked back in knocking off Kentlake (2-2) in an SPSL North game.

“Federal Way came ready to play from the get-go and we waited until after the first quarter,” said Kentlake coach Mike Shepard. “You can't spot a good team 21 points.”

Kentlake cut the deficit to 21-7 late in the first quarter on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Archibald to Tyler Wright. The Eagles added two more touchdowns, pushing their lead to 35-7 before Kentlake running back Latrelle Dukes responded with a 23-yard touchdown run up the middle.

“Their kids were ready and mine were not,” Shepard said. “Ultimately, that's my responsibility.”

Kentlake had won its previous two games, knocking off Kent-Meridian 49-20 in Week 2 and Thomas Jefferson 37-26 last week.

Kentlake was playing without senior quarterback Tyler Borgen, who injured his ribs last week against Thomas Jefferson.

“I could have trotted him out there tonight, but he doesn't have any 21-point plays in his back pocket,” Shepard said.

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