LAKEWOOD — The dynasty will not end this season, and if Saturday afternoon’s championship against No. 2 Eatonville was any indication, No. 1 Royal’s run at the top won’t be ending any time soon.
The Knights (14-0) controlled the Class 1A state football championship game at Harry E. Lang Stadium from start to finish 41-0 against the previously unbeaten Cruisers (13-1).
It’s Royal’s second consecutive title and its fifth since 2015. It’s also the Knights’ 12th running clock victory this season.
After not being able to make another run at state last spring due to the COVID-19 abbreviated season, this one felt just a bit sweeter for the Knights.
“It was amazing,” Knights tailback Avery Ellis said. “To be able to come in here and put up 40 on them and get a running clock on them, that was awesome. Without having it last year, it was special to get it this year.”
Ellis led the Royal attack, scoring three rushing touchdowns, catching a score and returning a bad snap on a punt attempt to the house for five all-purpose end-zone visits.
The Knights pounded the Cruisers for 472 total yards, and stifled the Cruiser attack. Eatonville didn’t complete a pass, turned it over three times and only accrued 48 total yards.
“Hats off to Royal,” Cruisers coach Gavin Kralik said. “Our offense really put our defense in a tough position. They’re good on both sides of the ball and the kicking game, but I wish we could have played better today.”
The Cruisers just couldn’t get anything going offensively, and though they never felt like they were out of it in the first half, the bad snap on a punt that Ellis returned for a touchdown to give the Knights a 27-0 lead in the second quarter, was a big turning point.
“We were rolling a bit, that helped solidify it,” Knights coach Wiley Allred said. “The momentum and confidence kept growing and then being able to run the ball with Avery (Ellis).”
Saturday’s win also ensured Royal of its 10th overall title, a nice round number for Allred and his staff, which has won nine of them. Though he couldn’t put into words what it meant for him, he made sure to give credit where it was due.
“The one right now is what matters,” Allred said. “For these kids it’s great to get one more for them.”
Royal quarterback Derek Bergeson had 121 rushing yards and 169 yards through the air to go along with two total touchdowns, and Gunnar Anderson was the Knights leading receiver with four catches and 40 yards.