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Kettle looks for big upset

October 26, 2011

Kettle Falls quarterback Conner McKern.

Kettle Falls High (5-3, 3-2) has already clinched a post-season berth, but there is nothing the Bulldogs would like more than to upset unbeaten and third-ranked Colfax (7-0, 5-0) in the Northeast 2B football finale for both teams Friday night in Kettle Falls. Game time is 7 p.m. Kettle Falls is coming off an easy 44-13 dismantling of Northeast 2B cellar-dweller Liberty (1-7, 0-5) last Friday night at Spangle. Colfax ran to a 26-0 lead over Springdale before easing off the throttle in a 58-36 road win last Friday. Fourth seed Kettle’s win at Liberty clinched a no. 4 playoff seed out of the Northeast 2B. In all likelihood, the Bulldogs will travel to unbeaten Waitsburg-Prescott for the opening round of State 2B playoffs. No playoff date has been set. Waitsburg-Prescott leads the Southeast 2B with a 4-0 record. They’re 8-0 overall. While KFHS head coach Curtis Corvino appreciates what his young team has accomplished so far, he knows the Bulldogs still have work to do. A strong showing against annual powerhouse Colfax would be a good springboard into the state playoffs. “We are approaching the Colfax game like it’s a playoff game,” Corvino said on Sunday. “This will be a real challenge. “We want to do what we have been able to do the past couple of weeks—focus on fundamental football…on our offense, defense and special teams. We need to put all that together.” Kettle Falls will need to play on all cylinders if they plan to test another rugged Colfax team that is led by solid offensive and defensive lines and the running of tailback Alvin Lee. “It’s all about their program and what they do,” Corvino said. “Offensively, we need to do a good job of blocking and we need to do a good job in coverage (on defense) and tackling.”
LIBERTY RECAP Kettle Falls led 32-7 at halftime against Liberty. KFHS got off to a fast start when sophomore quarterback Conner McKern returned the opening kickoff 73 yards for a touchdown and an early 7-0 lead. A key block from Brandon Hopkins helped to spring McKern. Kettle Falls scored again moments later, capping a three play drive with Austin Anderson’s one-yard touchdown run at the 9:23 mark of the opening quarter. The drive was set up by a Brandon Thomas 28-yard punt return to the Liberty 27-yard-line. On the first two plays of the drive, Anderson picked up 10 yards and Hopkins added a 16-yard run. Liberty score Liberty cut into the KFHS lead with a 49-yard, seven-play drive that was capped by a Match Burnham to Daniel Sanders pass of 12 yards late in the first quarter. Kettle Falls answered late in the first quarter, marching 85 yards in eight plays. Key plays in the drive included McKern’s 20-yard option keeper on the first play and a 12-yard McKern run. Brent McNeil capped the drive with a 28-yard run on a counter play. That score came with 9:52 left in the second quarter and upped the KFHS lead to 20-7. The Bulldogs added two more second quarter touchdowns. Kettle capped a six-play, 82-yard drive on Daniel Wason’s three-yard run with 6:41 left until halftime. Key plays in that drive included an Anderson 19-yard run on a third and 12 play. McKern hit Luke Beardslee on a post route for 30 yards to the Liberty three-yard-line. That pass and run play set up Wason’s touchdown. With 2:26 left before halftime, McKern and tight end Logan Cook hooked up in a 20-yard pass and run play for a touchdown. The six-play drive covered 46 yards. Kettle Falls was able to substitute liberally in the second half. The Bulldogs added a pair of second half touchdowns. STAT LINE Kettle’s defense turned in one of its best outings of the season to date, holding Liberty to only 47 first half rushing yards and 23 more in the third quarter. Liberty rushed for 162 yards (92 in the fourth quarter). Kettle Falls rushed for a season high 355 yards. McKern was 6 of 11 through the air for 82 yards and one touchdown. He wasn’t intercepted. McKern added 97 yards rushing (seven carries). Anderson led the KFHS rushing attack with 112 yards on 16 carries. He scored twice. He also caught two McKern passes for 25 yards. McNeil added 89 yards rushing on only five carries. He scored a touchdown. ELSEWHERE In a key Northeast 2B game last Friday at Reardan, Seth Hansen threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Johnny Kieffer with nine seconds left in the game. But the two-point conversion attempt by Reardan was no good and Lind-Ritzville/Sprague (6-1, 4-1) held on for a 7-6 win over Reardan (5-2, 3-2). The Indians attempted a two-point conversion after the late touchdown. But the Broncos got the game-saving stop at the goal line.

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