Catching up to present, Royal runs their winning streak to 40 while blowing out Newport in the semifinals. In 13 games, they’ve scored 663 points. For reference, the Meridian 1999 team scored 686 in 13 games, but that was before the days of running clock rules. It is much, much harder to break 50 now.
The key to the whole shooting match was to contain the elusive Newport quarterback Koa Pancho.
With the sacks, the Royal defense held the Grizzlies to minus-19 yards rushing in the first half and advanced to the Tacoma Dome for the third straight season with a 35-7 victory in the 1A state semifinal game at Lions Field on Saturday.
Royal (13-0) went into the game with eight defensive shutouts, including the two previous state playoff games. Saturday afternoon was another defensive showcase for a team allowing just 3.46 points against through the first 13 games.
The Grizzlies (11-2) were minus-19 in rushing yards and finished with just 172 yards in total offense.
“I think our defense speaks for itself. We’re only allowing 3.46 points a game,” said Corbin Christensen, who had a pass interception. “We got beat a couple of times, but our D-line picked us up, for sure.
“We were man-on-man on the back end quite a bit. But even when we went zone coverage, it was play the guy and when (Pancho) rolled, still stay with that man.”
Newport came into the game off a 21-7 victory over Colville in the quarterfinals, so the Griz had plenty of bite. But the Royal defensive scheme was orchestrated with such a force, the Knights controlled the game from start-to-finish.
“We had to come out and play with our hair on fire,” defensive end Ramses Gonzalez said with a smile. “We practiced all week to contain (Pancho) inside and not let him get outside. We squeezed him in slowly, but surely. In the first half, he took a nice hit and got up limping. We knew if we kept that up he’d slow down and that’s what he did.”
HIGHLIGHTS: @royalknightsfb allow pts…7…and roll past #10 Newport. @ljmyrick3 feasted today – the spin in traffic and #HEGONE? @SawyerJenks7 definitely stepping out of the Big Bro Shadow. @RHSFB_Champs_x7 might need to change that handle soon pic.twitter.com/ORUVcrmVMI
— Alan Hoshida (@AHoshidaSports) November 26, 2017