Conquerors prevail in wild 52-48 shootout vs. Hazen


Covington, Wash. – Senior wide receiver Stephen Watson found himself at the right place at the right time Friday night at Renton Memorial Stadium.  With :02 seconds remaining, his touchdown reception off a tipped ball gave the Kentwood Conquerors the game winning score in their 52-48 victory over the Highlanders of Hazen.  Friday evening’s win pushes the Conks record to 3-2 (2-1 NPSL).


How it happened:  After the two teams traded possessions, KW punting after a 3-and-out, and Hazen throwing an interception to KW senior Stephen Watson, the Conks’ offense got on the board first.  Senior quarterback Justin Seiber found sophomore wide receiver Alphonse Oywak, who raced 57-yards for a touchdown to give KW a 7-0 lead following an extra point kick by senior Manav Gill.


On the ensuing kickoff, the Highlander special teams fair caught a pooch kick at their own 45-yard line.  Beginning with good field position the Hazen offense went 5 plays 54-yards before a 1-yard rushing touchdown cut the Conks’ lead to 7-6 following a missed extra point.


After a Manav Gill 30-yard field goal pushed the Conks’ lead to 10-6, the Highlanders of Hazen looked to respond, instead a pass was intercepted by senior cornerback Alex McGeachy to give the ball back to Kentwood.  The ensuing drive stalled, and the Conks were forced to punt.


Hazen reeled off 14 points unanswered in the second quarter.  The first score, a 23-yard TD pass and the second, a 19-yard TD pass to put the score at 20-10, Hazen.  Shortly before halftime another Manav Gill field goal, this time a 22-yarder, cut the Hazen lead to 20-13.


The Highlanders continued their scoring on the opening drive of the second half, as they went 13-plays 75 yards to push the lead to 27-13.  The Kentwood offense responded with a 13 play 62-yard drive capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by junior running back/receiver JaMezz Johnson to cut the lead to 27-20 following a successful Gill extra point.


Kentwood’s defense forced a Hazen punt giving the ball right back to the offense, who reached the red zone before settling for a 21-yard Manav Gill field goal, cutting the lead to 27-23.  Hazen, looking to extend their lead, grinded out a 12 play 81-yard drive capped off by a 9-yard touchdown run, to put the score at 34-23 early in the fourth quarter.


It was during this fourth quarter where Justin Seiber’s arm really caught fire.  Following the Hazen touchdown, the senior quarterback went 3-4 for 60 yards and connected with senior receiver Jake Moore for a 16-yd touchdown pass, slicing the lead to 34-31 after a 2-point conversion pass from Seiber to Stephen Watson.


Kentwood once again found itself with a two-score deficit following a 9 play 68-yard Hazen touchdown drive, and once again Seiber and his receivers were up to the task.  Passes of 17, 13, 17, and 16-yards set the Conks up at the Hazen 7-yard line where Seiber found Watson in the corner of the end zone to cut the lead to a field goal, 41-38.


After a penalty and an unsuccessful onside kick by the Conquerors, the Highlanders found themselves with the ball at the 45-yard line in Kentwood territory.  The Conks defense rose to the occasion, and after a run of three yards, a penalty and two incompletions, they forced a Hazen punt.


Starting with the ball on their own 27-yard line, Seiber led his team on an 8 play 73-yard drive in which he went 5-5 for 62 yards with two scrambles for 11 yards.  Dyson Johnson punched it in from 3-yards out to give the Conks their first lead since the first quarter, 45-41 following another extra point by Gill.


The celebration was short-lived however, as Hazen caught the Conqueror defense napping on a screen play, taking it to 80-yards to the house to reclaim the lead 48-45 with about a minute remaining.


Kentwood needed an answer, and they did not have much time.  A short kick off was returned 21-yards by JaMezz Johnson to set the Conks’ offense up with great field position on their own 48-yard line.  On the first play Seiber found JaMezz Johnson out of the backfield for a 10-yard gain and a first down.  Following back to back incompletions, on 3rd and long, Seiber found a diving Jake Moore for 14 yards to once again move the chains.


First and 10 from the Hazen 28-yard line Seiber found Alphonse Oywak on a screen play for 13 yards and another Kentwood first down.  Two straight incompletions set the Conks up with another 3rd and long, this time from the Hazen 15-yard line.  With time ticking down, Seiber dropped to pass and looked for an open man.


With nowhere to throw, Seiber scrambled to his right, his eyes still downfield looking to make a play.  As Jake Moore broke off his route to, bending back to the sideline to help his QB, Seiber locked in and fired the ball.  A Hazen defensive back covering Stephen Watson anticipated the throw, left his man and broke on the ball with intentions of sealing the game.  Fortunately for the Conquerors the ball bounced off the defender’s hands and landed in Watson’s to give KW the 52-48 lead with :02 seconds remaining.


The Kentwood sideline and fans erupted in jubilation as JaMezz Johnson’s tackle on the ensuing kickoff sealed the thrilling come from behind victory for the Conquerors.


Notable Statistics:  Offense –

  • QB Justin Seiber 35-48 526 Yds 4TD, 1INT
  • WR Stephen Watson 12 Rec 128 yds 2TD
  • WR Alphonse Oywak 7 Rec 142 yds TD
  • WR Jake Moore 6 Rec 116 yds TD
  • RB Dyson Johnson 28 car 84 yds 2TD, 4 rec 31 yds


Defense –

  • DB Alex McGeachy 4.5 Tackles, 1INT, 3PBU
  • LB Stephen Watson 4.5 Tackles, 1INT
  • DB Mason Glover 6 Tackles, 3PBU
  • LB Kincade McFarlane 14 Tackles


Special Teams –

  • K Manav Gill 3-3 FG, 5-5 XP



Up Next:  The Conquerors are on the road next Friday as they take on the Highlanders of Hazen High School (7 p.m. Renton Memorial Stadium)