OKANOGAN — When you been through the rinse cycle as many times as the Royal Knights have, you tend not to panic when it’s game on. But there’s nothing like a good slap upside the helmet to get the competitive juices flowing.
For the first time in a good long while, the three-time 1A state champion Knights (4-0, 1-0 SCAC East) actually trailed not once, but twice in a football game. Okanogan took its final lead on a 14-12 lead on a 75-yard kickoff return by Justin Watts midway through the second quarter of Friday’s nonleague battle of previously unbeatens.
But Sawyer Jenks went to work with touchdown passes Angel Farias and Gage Christensen on consecutive drives and order was restored. The Knights extended their winning streak to 45 consecutive with a 56-17 win over the Bulldogs (3-1).
Jenks, the 6-foot-6, 205-pound senior, has made a career going long to Farias and Friday’s 70-yard scoring strike won’t be the last time the two hook up. But Christensen’s 18-yard catch in the end zone right before the half was a thing of beauty, Royal coach Wiley Allred said.
“It was an Odell Beckham-like catch. He goes up one-handed and makes this incredible catch,” said Allred (221-26), who has coached Royal to seven of its eight state championships.
“We got to find a way to get it on the highlight reel. It was just what we needed. I would say I’m most happy with the way the kids responded. They didn’t get rattled when they took the lead, they came back and scored every time Okanogan did.”
Like they did in last year’s 1A state championship game when Meridian punched ‘em in the mouth, Royal went to the ground game and Alonso Hernandez delivered, finishing the night with 196 yards on 16 carries, the longest being a 50-yard ramble. But it was the big guys up front who led the way for an offense that generated 261 of its 585 total yards on the ground.
“I think it was a little demoralizing when the offensive line played the way we did,” Allred said. “It took the wind out of their sails.”
Guards Chase Janett and Leighton Bateman; tackles, Logan Gomez and Jackson Bateman; and center Micha Albert cleared the way and Royal turned loose the dogs, scoring 29 unanswered points, 15 to end the first half and 14 to open the third quarter.
Jenks slung it around pretty good, finishing 12-of-23 for 321 yards passing and four touchdowns. He had touchdowns strikes of 70 and 40 yards to Farias and 18 and 68 to Christensen. He even had two touchdowns running for Royal’s first two scores.
The Knights, which are tied for the second-longest winning streak in the nation, according to MaxPreps, return to the SCAC East schedule on Friday, playing host to Warden.
Royal 6 22 21 7 - 56
Okanogan 0 14 3 0 - 17
R - Sawyer Jenks 1 run (kick no good)
O - 18 pass from Jake Bowers (Kolbe Tverberg kick)
R - Jenks 1 run (run fails)
O - Justin Watts 75 kick return (Tverberg kick)
R - Angel Farias 70 pass from Jenks (Alonso Hernandez run)
R - Gage Christensen 18 pass from Jenks (Alonso Hernandez run)
R - Hernandez 1 run (Osvaldo Guerrero kick)
R - Farias 40 pass from Jenks (Guerrero kick)
O - Tverberg 32 field goal
R - Tucker Janett 5 run (Guerrero kick)
R - Christensen 68 pass from Jenks (Guerrero kick)