Issaquah, Gellatly thwart Kentwood’s comeback bid

The Kentwood High football team had all the answers for seven straight weeks. Those answers became questions on Saturday night at Issaquah High in the opening round of the Class 4A state playoffs. And the biggest question of all quickly became how to stop — or at least slow down — Issaquah running back Grant Gellatly.

  • BY Wire Service
  • Monday, November 17, 2008 5:00pm
  • Sports
Kentlake’s Luke Angevine rolls out of the pocket in search of an open receiver Saturday against Issaquah. The Conks lost the game in the state opener

Kentlake’s Luke Angevine rolls out of the pocket in search of an open receiver Saturday against Issaquah. The Conks lost the game in the state opener

The Kentwood High football team had all the answers for seven straight weeks.

Those answers became questions on Saturday night at Issaquah High in the opening round of the Class 4A state playoffs.

And the biggest question of all quickly became how to stop — or at least slow down — Issaquah running back Grant Gellatly.

Kentwood never did find the answer.

Gellatly, a shifty, slippery 5-foot-10, 180-pounder split every seam imaginable Saturday night, racking up a career-best 321 yards on 34 carries and three touchdowns, leading 10th-ranked Issaquah past Kentwood, 31-28.

The loss ended Kentwood’s season. The Conquerors came into the night on a seven-game winning streak. But Gellatly and the Eagles (9-2) proved to be too much.

“He was pretty tough,” said Kentwood running back/defensive back Darrius Coleman. “He hit the seams on the weak side every time on us, we just couldn’t figure it out.

“He just kept running.”

No doubt about that.

Because on the night, Gellatly was in on 35 of Issaquah’s 60 total plays from scrimmage.

“He’s probably the best football player I have ever been associated with,” said Issaquah coach Chris Bennett. “He just does everything well. He’s just a competitor.”

As much of a competitor as Gellatly was on Saturday, the Conquerors showed just as much fight.

With 5:42 remaining in the third quarter, the Conquerors (8-3) trailed 31-14.

Coleman helped Kentwood get back into the game midway through the third quarter, bolting around the right side of the line for a 55-yard gain, down to Issaquah’s 10-yard line.

Three players later, Kentwood quarterback Luke Angevine connected with senior Brad Duncan for a 4-yard touchdown pass. It was Duncan’s first reception of the season and cut the deficit to 31-21.

Kentwood continued its late comeback with 7:01 remaining in the game, when defensive lineman Robert Sims recovered an Issaquah fumble on the Eagles’ 35-yard line.

Six plays later, the run-oriented Conks turned to trickery to get the ball down to the Issaquah 7-yard line. Wide receiver Allain Songco took a reverse from Angevine, rolled out to the right and then deposited a picture-perfect pass to Danny Bounds for a 34-yard gain. One play later, sophomore Joseph Banks slipped through the left side for a 7-yard touchdown, getting Kentwood within three at 31-28 with 4:40 remaining.

“It shows the heart in our kids,” said Kentwood coach Rex Norris. “A lot of teams would have backed out.”

It was the last time the Conquerors would see the ball as Issaquah turned to Gellatly, who promptly helped the Eagles run out the clock.

“It was about our kids finding a way,” Norris said. “We’ve been able to do it all year, we just fell short tonight.”

Early on, the Conquerors appeared poised for the upset.

Though Issaquah took an immediate 6-0 lead moments into the game on a 68-yard touchdown run from Gellatly, Kentwood — as it did all night — responded.

On its second possession of the game, Kentwood methodically marched 67 yards on 11 plays, culminating in a 5-yard touchdown run from Coleman, giving the Conquerors a 7-6 lead.

Moments later, the Conquerors were in business again after Coleman scooped up a Gellatly fumble at the Issaquah 40-yard line. Angevine made good on the turnover, finding a wide open Mike Roy for a 38-yard touchdown as time expired on the first-quarter clock.

The score gave the Conquerors a 14-6 lead at the end of one, but also served as a wake-up call to the Eagles.

Issaquah proceeded to rip off 25 points in the second and third quarters combined, taking a 31-14 lead with just more than 15 minutes remaining in the game and setting the stage for a Kentwood comeback that fell just short.

“We played our hearts out,” said Angevine, who completed 4 of 7 passes for 46 yards and two touchdowns. “It came down to the last 30-some seconds, so we were pretty darn close.”

Issaquah (9-2) finished the night with 471 yards of total offense, 390 of which came on the ground. In comparison, Kentwood managed 330 yards of total offense, 250 on the ground.

Coleman finished the game with 136 yards rushing and the one touchdown. A first-year starter in the backfield, he rushed for 1,490 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. Backfield partner Banks added 84 yards and the one touchdown on 11 carries.

“It took a lot of heart to come back,” Coleman said. “We knew we were a second-half team. We kept our head up ... (Issaquah) just kept working hard, too.”


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