Kentwood, Jonathan Foster in search of second state football title in four years
Karr coach Brice Brown, John Curtis coach J.T. Curtis, Kentwood coach Jonathan Foster, Warren Easton coach Jerry Phillips and Amite coach Zephaniah Powell were featured speakers.
For the school that is affectionately known as being “under the tank,” the football team has been over the top.
Kentwood is one of the best programs in Louisiana, having won eight state championships. The last one came in 2015. The eight championships are tied for seventh in state history.
In his fifth season as head coach and 14th year overall at Kentwood, Jonathan Foster looks for his second title in four years when the third-seeded Kangaroos battle No. 1 seed Oak Grove Thursday at noon in the opening game of the 2018 Allstate Sugar Bowl LHSAA Prep Classic at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
“I was blessed to follow coach David Currier which had a big impact on my career,” Foster said. “He didn’t do a lot of talking, he just did a lot of showing to me. We’re blessed at Kentwood with a lot of talent. This time of year is just a great feeling.”
Kentwood went on the road and staged a furious rally to overcome second seed Haynesville 20-14 in the semifinals last Friday night.
The Kangaroos are led by senior and LSU commit Trey Palmer, who has 36 catches for 956 yards (26.6 avg.) and nine touchdowns. Palmer has rushed 23 times for 240 yards and three touchdowns and for good measure, he has a touchdown pass of 48 yards. Defensively, Palmer has 86 tackles, including a sack with an interception.
“Trey is one of the smartest guys you are going to see,” Foster said. “He lines our kids up. He found some mistakes that we made last week. He’s just that type of kid.”
Not only is Palmer good and smart, he is tough.
“When we played Basile, we had to take him off the field,” Foster said. “He was hurt. He went to LSU, they checked him out and he was cleared. He came back and told us he wanted to play. He had no practice time. We were down 14-0. We put him in and he made some plays for us. We were able to pull it out.”
Senior quarterback TJ Hookfin has been superb. Hookfin has completed 142-of-208 passes (68%) for 3,118 yards and 30 touchdowns with nine interceptions. Hookfin has rushed 56 times for 267 yards and three touchdowns.
Senior Larry Carter is the top rusher with 136 carries for 770 yards and five touchdowns. Junior Rodarrian Robbins has been a force with 36 catches for 956 yards and nine touchdowns.
Defensively, junior linebacker Bryce Cooper leads the way with 139 tackles, including 11 for loss while junior defensive back Cornelius Dyson has 100 tackles, including six for loss. Dyson leads the team with three interceptions and has a forced fumble.
Oak Grove (13-0) is unbeaten. The Tigers drilled fifth seed and defending state champion West St. John 30-0 in the semifinals.
Junior quarterback Kameron Holloway has completed 32-of-59 passes for 705 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions. Holloway has rushed 66 times for 693 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Junior Otis Moore leads the punishing ground attack of the Tigers with 95 carries for 1,316 yards and 19 touchdowns. Senior Wyatt Rawls has 119 carries for 832 yards and 12 touchdowns. Sophomore Dalton Allen is the top receiver with 12 catches for 233 yards. Sophomore defensive back Ron Creten has three interceptions a fumble recovery and a forces fumble.
“This is our third time playing Oak Grove,” Foster said. “We’re very familiar with them. They are a big, physical team. They are going to try to limit our possessions by chewing up the clock. We’re a speed team. We need possessions. We’ve got to capitalize. One key is the turnovers. If we can win the turnover battle, we should be okay.”
Kentwood (11-2) lost to a state finalist in Ascension Catholic (Division IV) and a very good Southern Lab team.
The Kangaroos were close a year ago, falling 20-14 in the state championship game to West St. John.
“We were here last year and did not finish the job,” Foster said. “That is certainly a motivating factor. It’s going to be a thunder-and-lightning matchup. We like to get on the perimeter. They want to run the ball and chew the clock. It’s going to be a clash of the titans.”
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE Owner and CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Football Foundation, College…