There's always pressure when you're the defending champions, the team with a streak, the team circled on everybody's schedule.
It sure seems like the Royal football team is on that same ol' track, runnin' down the line back to the Tacoma Dome. The Knights (45 consecutive), who own the third longest winning streak in the nation, according to MaxPreps, earned their recognition through hard work and determination.
Unlike Bellevue, which was forced to vacate its playoff results from the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons, including the 2012 and 2013 state titles, when the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association cited a lack of institutional control.
It's called cheating not “lack of institutional control.”
The Wolverines were banned from postseason play as part of the sanctions placed on the program after multiple investigations discovered violations of WIAA rules regarding recruiting and out-of-season coaching.
Bellevue was finally reinstated last year and like Southern Methodist University, they'll play out from the shadow of unscrupulous behavior.
But there's something to be said for doing things the right way - with honor and dignity - and I think that's what makes Royal football what it is. Where Bellevue won eight state championships in a 10-year span, including six consecutive, they had to cheat to get there.
They do things different on the Royal Slope and it all starts with Washington Football Coaches Hall of Fame coach Wiley Allred and his staff.
“We just have a bunch of hard-working guys that want to get better every week,” Allred said, leaning up against the fence watching the girls soccer team last week, smiling as he listened to his running back Alonso Henderson and crew howling in the stands over some call on the field.
Royal (4-0) manhandled Okanogan 56-17 for the second time in as many years. The last time the two previously unbeaten teams met was in the 2017 1A quarterfinal game where the Knights put a 49-0 beat down on the Bulldogs.
I realize it's just the fourth game of the season, but there's a whole lot of tendencies carrying over from the three-peat season. The Royal defense is golden, allowing just 24 points in four games, including two shutouts. Where last year they didn't give up a touchdown until the seventh game and finished the regular season averaging 2.5 points a game. The bad news for the rest of the league is that they are averaging 6 points a game going into the SCAC East schedule.
With the ball, they are every bit as explosive. They outscored their opponents 215-24 through the first three games and don't appear to be falling off that 53.7-point per game scoring average anytime soon.
They beat the 2A teams on the nonleague schedule by a combined 90-7, and that Ellensburg touchdown in the opener came against the third team defense.
Streaks come and go. There was a fair amount of fans and experts that thought the 2007 New England Patriots would become the first team since the Miami Dolphins (1972) to go unbeaten to the World Championship and the first team to win 19 consecutive.
The one thing you can count on in Royal City, when it does end, it won't be because of lack of work.
Allred and staff will see to that.