Here in the Columbia Basin one of the best football teams around will try and make some history when it goes in search of its fourth consecutive 1A state championship.
Stranger things have happened, say the New York Giants upending previously unbeaten New England in 2007. But I will say this, it’s going to take a heck of an effort to dethrone the Royal Knights. With the second-longest winning streak in the nation (51), they’ve sat in the No. 1 spot this season and rightly so.
Montesano, Cascade Christian and Zillah are in the discussion, but the Knights’ 51-game streak dates all the way back to Sept. 4, 2015 and it’s going to take a knockout punch to take them off the top shelf again this year.
I realize Naches Valley had won just three games, but Friday night’s SCAC Crossover Playoff was a thing of beauty for a team just getting warmed up. Sawyer Jenks could have thrown 10 touchdown passes in the second and fourth quarters alone of Wiley Allred and staff would have been merciless, instead of calling off the dogs in a 78-3 victory.
The wind was up around 20 miles an hour blowing toward the East. Jenks did air it out to Angel Farias for a 54-yard scoring strike going with the wind. Yep, Torched by an Angel was 10 yards beyond the Rangers secondary. They could have done that uncontested all night long.
Hard to say which is scarier, an offense averaging 52 points a game or a defense that’s pitched seven shutouts, that’s starting to figure out how to score itself. The Knights took two pass interceptions and a fumble recovery to the house against Naches Valley to go along with a safety. Then there’s special teams. The Farias boys are warming up the juts. Angel returned four punts for touchdowns last year. He’s threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball. Now little brother Aldo has stepped into the picture with a school-record tying 97-yard kickoff return, Makes me wonder of Angel is even the fastest guy in his backyard.
The Knights are scary good, but there’s a reason they don’t mail out the trophy, ask the 2007 Patriots.
It’s that time of year when the various leagues and conferences start to recognize commitment to excellence and the votes are rolling in for South Central Athletic Conference soccer and Central Washington Athletic Cross country.
Royal sophomore Chenoa Louie was a force to be reckoned with in net for the Knights this season. Going against scoring forces like Warden and Connell, Louie was recognized for her efforts with a first-team, all-SCAC selection.
The SCAC stayed with the youth movement recognition, selecting Wahluke striker Ana Andrade. Andrade was a major part of the Warriors four-game winning streak to finish the season.
The all-SCAC second team featured two from Wahluke and two from Royal. Wahluke senior Celeste Lopez and teammate junior Jessica Macias were a big part of the Warriors midfield. They were recognized for their efforts with second-team selections.
The Royal defense placed a couple on the all-SCAC list with Jenae Mercado and Daisy Niebla. It was a nice way for Niebla to wrap up her varsity career. Mercado will step into a leadership role next season as a senior.. Royal teammate Liz Torres also got a little recognition on the honorable mention.
Out on the distance running trail, Othello’s David Maldonado caught the leagues eye this cross country season. Maldonado was recognized by the CWAC with a second-team selection.
Rodney Harwood is a sports writer with the Columbia Basin Herald and writes a weekly column for the Sun Tribune. He can be reached at email@example.com.