The Royal Knights played on their home turf for the third straight week this past Friday. This time it
was a week one rematch and the opening round of the state playoffs against the Cascade Kodiaks ofthe Caribou Trail League.
The Kodiaks got off early by returning the opening kickoff 83 yards for atouchdown forcing the Knights into an early hole. Royal evened things up in a matter of minutes andwent on to score five straight touchdowns before Fabian Alvarez struck again with another kickoffreturn for a touchdown with under 40 seconds left in the half.
Royal got the ball back deep inside theirown territory with just enough time for a few plays before the break. The Knights quickly made themost of those snaps and got the ball down to the Kodiak 41 yard line with just 7 seconds left in the half.
On the final play of the half, Royal QB Alex Myrick bounced off of a sack attempt while keeping his eyesdown field enough to see his favorite receiving target get behind the defense. While on the run, Myrickheaved a 55 yard pass off of his back foot into the waiting arms of Christian Guerrero at the 5 yard
line, who covered the final distance to the end zone without interference as the halftime gun sounded.
The Knights went into the break with a 42-14 lead and added 28 more points in the second half, whileholding Cascade scoreless and finishing with an impressive 70-14 victory.
In similar fashion to the previous week, Royal racked up nearly 700 yards of total offense primarily onthe backs of what has emerged to be a three-headed monster. Senior running back Damien Delarosarushed for 187 yards and three touchdowns and also beat the Kodiak punter to the ball in the end zoneafter a bad punt snap for his fourth touchdown on the night.
Christian Guerrero hauled in four passesfor 121 yards and three touchdowns and added another 43 yards on his only rush.
Quarterback AlexMyrick threw for 191 yards and three touchdowns and also ran for 136 yards and another touchdown onjust 12 carries.
The Knight defense was equally impressive while limiting the Cascade attack to just 148 yards of totaloffense. They were led as usual by senior linebacker Marcos Morales, who totaled eight tackles, andKent Christensen added a pair of timely sacks.
This Saturday afternoon the Knights will take on a very worthy opponent in the Cle Elum Warriors. Theyare led by senior standout Jake Gall, but have a ton of experience and depth all across the field. Lastweek they pounded a short-handed Cashmere Bulldog squad into submission by scoring early and often
to establish their dominance.
The senior tandem of Jake Gall and Mitchell Milsap powered the Warriorsto a 20-0 first quarter lead. Brennan Burchak also pitched in to extend to 34-0 at the half over thepreviously undefeated Bulldogs.
The Warrior defense turned the Bulldogs over five times, three throughthe air and two on the ground, to seal the victory to move Cle Elum past the first round of the stateplayoffs for the first time in its last ten tries.
Cle Elum hopes to carry that momentum into the quarterfinals, as they face off against the undefeatedKnights in Moses Lake on Saturday. Both teams feature experience and composure at the quarterbackposition.
For Cle Elum, coach Tony Kretschman literally has an extension of himself at the position;his son Tyler has manned the position for several seasons and keeps all of the offensive gears workingtogether in time.
For Royal, Alex Myrick is a three year starter who is as much athlete as quarterbackand has honed his skills and physique to punish opposing defenses. Undoubtedly, the Warriors will lean heavily on Jake Gall. He represents their leading rusher, leadingreceiver, and leading tackler all rolled up into one impressive athlete.
That certainly doesn't mean thatstopping Gall equates to stopping Cle Elum. Millsap and Burchak are both serious threats in their ownrights and Kretschman has completed 61% of his passes, which is more than enough to provide balanceand keep opposing defenses honest.
After posting his highest single-game rushing output of the season last week against Cascade, it isapparent that a solid performance by Royal running back Damien Delarosa sets the table for the rest ofthe Knight offense.
Over the second half of the season, he has run with power and greatly improved hisyards-after-contact statistics. The Knights feed off of his success with play action and misdirection inperfect rhythm when at their best.
The question to be answered is which defense will prevent the opposing offense from playing inrhythm on Saturday? Which defense will force punts and turnovers and give their offense the ball withdesirable field position? Who will win the battle at the line of scrimmage and move that line in theirfavor?
Come find the answers to all of these questions this Saturday in heated playoff action.
The victor willmove on to face the winner of the Riverview-Quincy game in the semi-finals on Thanksgiving weekend.
If you can't make it to the game, join us andLISTEN LIVEatwww.royalhighsports.com
Kickoff will be at1 pm and the webcast will begin at 12:40 pm with game preview.
About the AuthorMike Noftle
I live on the “Eastside” of the State in Royal City, Washington. I am the father of 5 wonderful children and husband to the most patient woman to ever walk the planet. A small town football fanatic, Coach, and now writer of tales. Come join me as we find the greatest stories we can out here on The Edge.
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