The Knights beat league rival Connell 25-10 to finish the season 13-0 and win state for the second straight year.
TACOMA — Royal quarterback Kaden Jenks took a lot of punishment from the Connell Eagles defense Saturday morning.
The senior was hobbling for much of the second half, even throwing up a bit after he knelt to end the first half due to dehydration.
But he hung in there to make his rivals feel sick in the second half, as he threw for 246 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 146 more and a score as the Knights beat the Eagles 25-10 at the Tacoma Dome to repeat as Class 1A state football champions.
It’s the second straight year the Knights finished the season undefeated (13-0). Royal hasn’t lost a game since Colville beat it 28-10 in the 2014 state quarterfinals. It’s the sixth Class 1A state title for Royal since 2000.
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“That is by far the best thing you can do,” Knights junior wide receiver Corbin Christensen said. “It was surreal (playing league rival Connell for the title). We’re thinking the whole week if we beat them, that’s the best thing you can do. But they’re a really good team, so we had to play our butts off.”
Both teams played even in the first half, as they traded scores on their opening possessions.
It was square at 10 when Jenks broke through for Royal in the third quarter.
He hit junior running back Issac Ellis for 11 yards on a fourth-and-six, then found Christensen in the end zone with a bullet that beat double coverage for the 22-yard go-ahead score. Jenks scored on a 1-yard run on the next drive.
“He’s a stud,” Christensen said of Jenks. “I can’t say much more than that. … I didn’t even think he was gonna throw it, honestly, but when he did, he put it right in the exact spot where it needed to be.”
Jenks was confident that Christensen would make the catch.
“Corbin’s a great player,” he said. “That’s on him. He went up and made the play.”
Despite the strong performance of Eagles (12-2) quarterback Brian Hawkins (he rushed for 118 yards and threw for a score), the Knights’ defense forced them to turn the ball over on downs on two drives to keep them off the board in the second half.
“When you give their quarterback space, he can make big runs,” Royal coach Wiley Allred said. “That’s what he does regularly. It was a bit nerve-wracking, but our defense made a couple of big stops in the third and fourth quarter. That was huge.”