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Football: Jefferson snags historic 24-7 victory over Kentwood
Things are a little different around the Thomas Jefferson football program this year.
In the past, the Raiders have been overmatched and intimidated while playing against some of the top programs in the rugged South Puget Sound League.
Not this year.
Jefferson proved as much Thursday night against the always-powerful Kentwood Conquerors. The Raiders beat up the Conks, 24-7, at Federal Way Memorial Stadium to move to 1-1 in the SPSL North. Jefferson dropped its opener to Tahoma last week in Maple Valley, 38-31, after leading most of the contest.
As far as anybody knows, it was Jefferson’s first-ever football victory over Kentwood. The two teams have been playing each other since Kentwood opened its doors in 1981.
“From what I have heard, nobody can remember it ever happening before,” said TJ head coach Dean Peck.
During that run, the Kentwood program has made 19 appearances in the state tournament, winning two state titles with another two second-place finishes.
Jefferson, on the other hand, have never played a single game in the state football tournament. The Conks finished the 2010 regular season unbeaten, including a 61-8 thrashing of TJ.
But the roles were reversed Thursday night. The Raiders not only beat Kentwood, but dominated the Conquerors in every facet of the game, especially up front.
After playing a scoreless second quarter, Jefferson’s senior quarterback, K.W. Williams, got TJ on the board with a 1-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter.
It was the first of three touchdown runs by Williams during the game. He finished with 167 yards rushing and also had an interception on the defensive side of the ball for the Raiders.
“K.W. is now a three-year starter, so experience means a lot,” Peck said. “He is an incredible athlete that finds ways to make things happen. Not only that, he is a great all-around person. He is vital to our success.”
Kentwood, who beat Mount Rainier 47-0 last week, tied the game at 7-7 later in the second quarter on a 50-yard TD run by Chance Fuimaono. But that was it for the Conqueror offense.
The Jefferson defensive front, anchored by Jefferson Aumua, Tim Luafatasaga, Ian Tougher and Gunner Sonnenfeld, dominated the usually potent Kentwood run game. Despite the 50-yard run by Fuimaono, the Conks finished with just 87 yards rushing. Kentwood also completed only 3-of-17 passes during the game.
“Our line just keeps getting better and better,” Peck said. “We added three linemen this game who were not eligible week one against Tahoma. It helped a lot to have depth so we could rest players throughout the game. Their play did not surprise me at all.”
The second half was all Jefferson and Williams.
Kicker McKay Owsley connected on a 37-yard field goal to put the Raiders up for good 10-7. Williams added two fourth-quarter touchdown runs, including a 23-yarder.
The Raiders can take another step toward securing their first-ever postseason berth Friday against the Auburn Trojans on the road.