Conquerors rally falls short in 16-18 loss to Tahoma Bears


Covington, Wash. – The Kentwood-Tahoma rivalry lived up to its billing on Monday evening.  The matchup between the two was not decided until the final seconds, where a Nathan Laborde pass was dropped in the end zone, sealing a 18-16 Bear victory.  Monday evening’s loss drops the Conks’ record to 2-1.


How it happened:  In weather that made you feel right at home in the Pacific Northwest, the Conquerors marched down the field in their opening drive of the game.  Despite wet conditions the Conks completed a couple of passes and moved the chains on a couple of big runs, until they found themselves inside the red zone, where the drive was stalled by a couple of dropped balls, and a penalty.  On fourth down a KW essentially punted to Tahoma, as a pass was intercepted at the 2-yard line.  The Conqueror defense put the first points on the board as their pressure forced an errant snap, and the Tahoma quarterback was forced to take a safety, giving the Conks a 2-0 lead.


On the following possession, the Conks had favorable field position, but failed to do anything and turned the ball over on downs.  The responding Tahoma drive was helped by an unfortunate series of events on two third down and longs.  The first, a facemask penalty on 3rd and 15 gave the Bears a crucial first down and kept their drive alive.   The second, was on a 3rd and 10 from the Conqueror 25-yard line.  The Bears’ quarterback attempted a swing pass to his running back, however the ball slipped out into the air and landed back in his own hands, after which he sprinted up the sideline for a 25-yard touchdown, giving the Bears, a 6-2 lead following a failed two-point conversion.


The Conqueror offense responded with a 48-yard pass from Nathan Laborde to Trevon Erickson to set Kentwood up in the red zone, where this time they punched it in with a 2-yard Akil Brown touchdown run, putting the Conks up 9-6 with a minute left in the half after a Connor Plett extra point.


The Bears, showing a will to win, converted a 4th and 5 from their own 43-yard line setting them up in Conqueror territory with :08 seconds remaining in the half.  On the next play, a miscommunication in the secondary allowed a Tahoma receiver to get behind a KW corner, and with the safety help just a split-second late, the Bears connected on a 35-yard touchdown pass and the Conks found themselves down 12-9 at the half following an unsuccessful 2-point conversion.


After halftime, the Tahoma offense used a 10-play 35-yard drive to put themselves in scoring territory before cornerback Nik Diaz stepped in front of a Bear pass, giving the offense the ball back.  Unfortunately, a personal foul on the interception return backed the Conks’ offense up on their own 10-yard line, where the offense went 3-plays and out.


A shanked punt gave the Bears’ offense a short field to work with, beginning at the KW 29-yard line.  On third down and long a Tahoma running back caught a swing pass in the backfield and raced untouched to the end zone to extend the Bear lead at 18-9 following another unsuccessful 2-point conversion.


The two teams traded possessions until Laborde connected with Erickson for a 75-yard touchdown, cutting the score to 16-18 after another successful Plett extra point.  After the kick off, a Trevon Erickson sack and two Tahoma incompletions forced the Bears to punt it back to the Conks.


With the ball on the Tahoma 35-yard line and the momentum in their favor, Kentwood looked to retain the lead.  The Bears defense however, had other plans.  Four consecutive sacks gave the Bears the ball back at the Kentwood 42-yard line.  The Conks defense continued their backs-against-the-wall play, and forced a Tahoma Bear punt that rolled into the end zone for a touchback.


After a dropped pass on first down, a Laborde fumble was recovered by guard Skylar Stouffer, who rumbled about 6-yards to get the ball back to the original line of scrimmage.  The Conks used their final timeout, calling two plays in the huddle.  An Akil Brown run of 7-yards put the Conquerors at a 4th down and 3, before Laborde hit Dyllon Daniels on a hitch route, who took it 40-yards to the Tahoma 37-yard line.  The following play Akil Brown once again caught the Bears defense by surprise, taking a handoff and sprinting 27-yards to the Bears’ 10-yard line.


On first and goal from the 10, Laborde fell on the ball after a fumbled exchange between he and Akil Brown.  On second and goal with :10 seconds left in the game, Laborde dropped back to pass and scrambled to his left.  Looking for a receiver to come open, Laborde finally found his man in the end zone and sent a touch pass to the receiver who, unfortunately for the Conks, couldn’t hold on as time expired.  The Bears ran off the field in jubilation, and the Conquerors were left feeling like they let one get away.


Who Stood Out:  Defensively, linebackers Nick Musga and Trevon Erickson made plays in the backfield all game long.  Strong play from cornerbacks Nik Diaz (INT) and Jacob Bathurst helped the Conks in the secondary.


Offensively, Trevon Erickson had some big receptions including the 75-yard touchdown in the 4th quarter.  Running back Akil Brown did a nice job on the ground, rushing for a touchdown and hitting big plays throughout the day.


Up Next:  The Conquerors are at home next Monday as they face the Rogers High School Rams (4 p.m. at Kentwood HS)