Back to Back 1A State Championships for Royal By Colin Caruso
Five time state champion coach Wiley Allred had his Royal Knights rearing to battle in the 1A state final against the talented Connell Eagles. In their first matchup of the year, Royal squeezed past the Eagles 28-21 in Connell. This time, the stage was set in Tacoma for the biggest game of the year.
Connell came out of the gates on fire, putting together a 7 play, 70-yard drive capped off by a 31-yard TD pass from Brian Hawkins to Steven Kroontje. Royal was ready to respond, putting together their own 3 play dazzling drive that ended in a 62-yard TD pass from Knights QB Kaden Jenks, one of his three total scores of the game. Connell added a field goal late in the first to take a 10-7 lead into the second frame, unbeknownst to the Eagles that this would be their last points in the game.
Royal responded in the second quarter with a field goal of their own to send the game into half tied at 10. Allred clearly had an invigorating halftime speech, as his Knights put up 15 points in the third quarter, on a pass and a run from Jenks, a Weber State commit. He was the story all day long; big hits from the safety position on defense and perfect throws and powerful runs from the quarterback position.
The 15 points in the third quarter pushed the score to 25-10, and that was enough to capture the crown. In a game of well-matched clubs, the Knights prevailed and took home the 1A state crown. Congratulations to Royal High School!
Royal Victorious in “The Knight Bowl” By Steve Dion
Game two of state title Saturday was a clash of nobility as the Royal Knights from near Yakima would face the King’s Knights based out of Shoreline. Royal bulldozed through their entire schedule as the only game within one possession was against Connell in mid-October who they decimated in the semifinal round 47-7. For King’s, the return of senior quarterback Koa Wilkins had given Jim Shapiro’s team a huge boost in the playoffs. Only one team could wear the crown, would Royal finish the season undefeated or would King’s continue their hot streak?
Royal received the opening kickoff and marched to the endzone in under three minutes culminating in a 10-yard Joseph Lang scamper. King’s was on the move to even the score, but Lang jumped in the passing lane for an interception. Royal proceeded to matriculate the ball into King’s territory and cap the drive off with Lang’s second touchdown. King’s offensive woes continued for the duration of the first half as they were limited to 138 total yards and no points to show for it. Before the break, Royal took a three possession lead when Kaden Jenks ran it in from eight yards out. King’s dug themselves a big hole with a three-touchdown deficit heading into the break, could Coach Shapiro make the necessary adjustments to spark a comeback?
King’s received the second half kickoff and did exactly what they needed to shift the momentum back in their direction. The westside Knights marched down the field and after 12 plays and 72 yards, they scored for the first time in the game. Caleb Perry burst through the King’s defense for a 3 yard touchdown. The KHS defense stepped up by blanking Royal in the third quarter. The game was still in the balance heading into the fourth.
As the clock was starting to wind down in the final frame, King’s was on the move and in position to bring the game to one possession. Joseph Lang put an exclamation point on his already huge game by intercepting a pass and taking it 58 yards to the house. Kaden Jenks picked off a pass shortly thereafter and the Royal sideline began to celebrate. Wiley Allred led his team to a perfect 14-0 season. Congratulations to the Royal Knights on their first championship since 2005!
The Final Score:
Royal 28, King’s 7 Top Performer
Joseph Lang- 14 rush, 64 yards, 2 TDs, 58 yard interception for TD