King's coach Jim Shapiro couldn't help but think about how far he and his program had come. Five years ago, Shapiro and the Knights went...
SHORELINE — King’s coach Jim Shapiro couldn’t help but think about how far he and his program had come.
Five years ago, Shapiro and the Knights went 0-10. But there stood Shapiro and his team Friday, soaking up the celebration after undefeated King’s won its first Cascade Conference title with a 55-42 win against Lakewood.
“To seize the league championship is a good testament to the kids and their hard work,” Shapiro said. “Five years later, here we are.”
King’s (9-0), the top-ranked team in 1A, clicked in just about every way offensively against the Cougars (8-1), ranked No. 4 in 2A. Quarterback Billy Green, a BYU commit, passed for six touchdowns and 312 yards. Five different receivers caught touchdown passes, and the Knights rushed for more than 200 yards.
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But the Knights’ biggest adjustment came on defense. King’s, which led 34-28 at halftime, stopped Lakewood just once in the first half.
The Knights held the Cougars to 14 points after halftime by eliminating many of Lakewood’s big plays.
“Our offense hadn’t been stopped once in the first,” Green said. “But our defense, we knew they had just beaten us on the big plays. If we just eliminated those, we knew we could come out and shut them down enough to get the win.”
Green led the charge offensively, carving up a Lakewood defense that tried just about everything to stop him. He completed 23 of 34 attempts and passed for five touchdowns in the first half.
When Lakewood blitzed him, Green slipped out of the pocket and found a receiver. When the Cougars dropped defenders in coverage, he waited until someone got open.
“Teams bring a ton of pressure,” Shapiro said, “and he’s able to find a way out of it and puts the ball where it needs to be.”
Said Lakewood coach Dan Teeter: “There aren’t many like him around, thankfully. What a competitor.”
Lakewood hung with Green and the Knights for the first half. Brandon Stott scored a 73-yard touchdown on Lakewood’s first offensive play. Justin Peterson and Donovan Evans also kept attacking King’s, including on a 61-yard halfback pass from Evans to Peterson.
After a late hook-and-ladder touchdown at the end of the half, Lakewood trailed King’s by only six points at the half.
“If you’re measuring the athleticism of the teams, we’re both great athletic teams,” Shapiro said. “But our tank was a little more full there in the second half.”
King’s offense proved too tough to stop, pulling away after halftime thanks in part to two Trevor Hansen touchdowns.
The teams will go their separate ways in the playoffs, and both are threats to win their classifications.
But on Friday night, King’s had the chance to celebrate a turnaround five years in the making.
“After the game,” Teeter said, “I told coach Shapiro I was proud of him.”