ROYAL CITY — The three-time defending 1A state champion Royal Knights scored on the first offensive play of the game when Sawyer Jenks slung it wide to receiver Angel Farias, who put it on Gage Christensen for a 56-yard touchdown.
The Knights (1-0) scored on the last drive of the first half and again on the opening drive of the second to extend their winning streak to 42 in a runaway 34-7 victory over 2A Ellensburg Friday night at David Nielsen Stadium.
But the highlight reel play of 2018 so far didn’t come until the final touchdown of the night when Jenks, who was 16 of 21 for 278 yards and two touchdowns with a quarterback rating of 114, rolled right all the way to the grandstand sideline, planted his left foot and threw a bullet back across the field, proving his older brother Kaden isn’t the only one in the family that can throw a fastball.
Farias had broken off a post route in the end zone and was all the way to the goal post when the ball blazed through the tightest of windows, passed outstretched defender’s hands, and hit him dead in the chest, then popped up into the air in traffic. What happened next depends on which end of the pass you were on.
“I didn’t think it was going to get to me, then all of a sudden it’s on my hands,” said Farias, who caught six balls for 92 yards and two touchdowns.
Jenks just smiled, “Once I put it on him, my job was pretty much over. But I was praying that it didn’t get picked off,” he said. “When it popped up, I was hoping he’d just bat it down. Don’t pick it, don’t pick it.”
Farias was a big-time receiver last year as the No. 2. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound senior is the guy in an offense that rolled up 245 of its 490 total yards in the first half. Bat it down? Not a chance. It went in the books as a 15-yard touchdown pass, but the ball traveled from the near sideline all the way to the goal post some 30 yards away.
“You gotta grab it, you’re end zone,” Farias said.
Farias managed to gather himself, bring the ball in before taking a massive hit from a frustrated defensive unit that got torched for a second consecutive season by the 1A state champions.
Royal travels to Othello on Friday for another nonleague game with the 2A Huskies.
A year ago, Royal averaged 56.6 points a game and would have finished with 48 points in the season opener had it not had a couple of touchdowns called back. Alonso Hernandez rushed for 57 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown. Tucker Janett added 41 on eight carries, including a 13-yard burst.
The Knights lost SCAC Player of the Year Corbin Christensen to graduation, but have a nice selection of receivers this year. Farias had the big night, but Gage Christensen finished up with 88 yards on four catches, including the 56-yard touchdown. Carter Dorsing added 70 yards on two catches with a 57-yarder to his credit.
“I thought we played well. Being the first game there were too many penalties, but as far as execution it was a good start,” said coach Wiley Allred, who will be inducted into the Washington Football Coaches Hall of Fame when the season is over. “We have things to work on, but Ellensburg is disciplined and a well coached team.”
The Knights defense averaged 3.5 points a game and didn’t give up a touchdown until the seventh game of the season last year. Ellensburg finally got on the board late in the third quarter when a 50-yard jump ball reception put the Bulldogs (0-1) in the 1-yard line and they scored on the following play. Alonso Hernandez led the Knights with five tackles and two tackles for a loss. Cooper Christensen had two pass interceptions, including one on the final play of the game when the defending 1A state champions slammed the door on their 42nd consecutive victory, which moves them up into a tie for the second-longest winning streak in the country, according to MaxPreps.
Ellensburg 0 0 7 0 - 7
Royal 7 14 7 6 - 34 R - Gage Christensen 56 pass from Angel Farias (Osvaldo Guerrero kick) R - Alonso Hernandez 3 run (Guerrero kick) R - Farias 40 pass from Sawyer Jenks (Guerrero kick) R - Lorenzo Myrick 2 run (Guerrero kick) E - 1 run R - Farias 15 pass from Jenks (kick failed)