KENTWOOD — Quarterback Shyheim Carter has big goals for his senior season. He completed the first one Thursday night by leading the Kangaroos to a hard-fought 14-7 victory over Southern Lab under the tank at KHS.
Trailing 7-0 at halftime, third-ranked KHS took advantage of great field position to score two touchdowns. The Kangaroos also survived a late charge by the No. 4 Kittens.
Carter, who ran for one TD and passed for another, acknowledged the ultimate goal of winning a state title on the night the clinched an elusive District 6-1A crown. The victory avenged a 20-6 loss to Southern Lab a year ago in Baton Rouge.
“It’s been like that three years in a row for me,” Carter said. “I’m a senior this year, and I just want to go to college with a ring on my finger. I don’t expect anything less than that.
“It was great to win this game and do what we did. This was my first district championship. In your senior year you want to be district and state champions.”
SLHS had its chance late in the game. The Kittens took over with 3:15 remaining and Darbbeon Profit Jr. broke a 50-yard run that put the ball on the KHS 16.
Kentwood (9-1, 5-0) countered by sacking quarterback Bladrick Veal twice — one by Cordell Williams and the other Jaleah Covington. The final sack took place on fourth-and-14. The Kangaroos took over at their own 17 with 41 seconds remaining and ran out the clock. Southern Lab finishes 6-3, 4-1.
The sequence helped illustrate the game. Profit finished with 91 yards on 19 carries and scored the lone TD for SLHS. Veal, who was sacked four times in the second half, completed 8 of 17 passes for 88 yards.
“Once we held them to seven points in the first half, I felt good,” Kentwood coach Jonathan Foster said. “Offense wins games, but defense wins championships. If we can play lights out like that, we’ll be alright.”
Carter was the star on offense for KHS. He finished with 87 yards on 21 carries. He also completed 12 of 28 for 104 yards and one TD.
Southern Lab held the Kangaroos out of the end zone twice in the first half.
But Kentwood got its offense in gear midway through the third quarter.
Carter capped six-play, 44-yard drive with a 5-yard TD run with 5:22 left. That score tied the game.
KHS forced a 13-yard punt on the ensuing Southern Lab possession. The Kangaroos took over at the SLHS 31.
It was all about the Carter during the next sequence. He ran for 14 yards on the first play and 2 on the second. Then came the finish — a 15-yard TD pass to Jaleel Hampton. Kentwood a 14-7 lead with 1:51 still remaining in the third period.
Southern Lab used favorable field position to get its only TD in the first half.
The Kittens took over at the KHS 42 after a punt late in the first quarter. They overcame two penalties to score in six plays. Profit scored on a 6-yard sweep around right end with 1:17 remaining.
Ultimately, the Kittens surrendered the ball to Kentwood six times in their own territory and it proved costly.
“We lost that battle bad,” SLHS first-year head coach Marcus Randall said of his team’s field position struggles. “They pretty much had us pinned back the whole time. But we almost had a chance to win it.
“They played tough, our guys played tough … we just came out on the short end of this game.”