It took a lot longer than the King's Knights would have liked, but they finally got to celebrate Thursday night at Terry Ennis Stadium after defeating Cascade Conference rival Archbishop Murphy for the first time ever.
King's senior quarterback Billy Green completed 18 of 31 passes for 312 yards and five touchdowns as he helped lead his team to a 40-15 victory and hand the Wildcats their first-ever conference loss on their home field. Green, who's committed to play college football at Brigham Young University, also ran the ball 11 times for 33 yards and another touchdown -- accounting for all six of the Knights' scores.
"It's awesome," Green said. "It's the first time we've ever beat them. To beat them at Murphy is just the icing on the cake."
Another excited Knight was the head one, coach Jim Shapiro.
"This is 13 years in the making," Shapiro said after a jug of water was dumped on him by his players. "It's surreal."
Shapiro noted the game "came at a cost," with receiver Alex Brouwer breaking his collarbone. Still, he said the win was big for King's High School, and big for the team early in the season. The game was televised in the Northwest on ROOT Sports as the station's "High School Football Game of the Week."
"We've had some big wins, but this is big," Shapiro said. "You've gotta put it in the top 10."
Ten of Green's passes were caught by Caleb Taylor, who accounted for 176 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Green to Taylor became the Knights' go-to play in the first half, with six of his receptions coming before the break.
"I'd say he was my go-to guy," Green said. "But it's different every week. … My receivers did an excellent job of getting open."
Going into the game, both teams were ranked No. 1 in their respective conferences -- 2A for Murphy, 1A for King's -- in the inaugural Associated Press polls.
Archbishop Murphy actually got on the board first, scoring on a 48-yard touchdown run by Hans VanderWel midway through the first quarter. The drive took five minutes, nine seconds because the Wildcats would wait for the back judge to raise his hand, signaling five seconds left on the game clock. Then Archbishop Murphy would quickly snap the ball.
The plan to keep the ball out of the Knights' hands worked, until the ball got into the Knights' hands. Green threw a fade to Taylor that was right on his hands as King's tied the score.
On the first play of the next drive, Taylor recovered a fumble. That drive ended a few plays later with a 17-yard touchdown run by Green to give King's the lead for good.
"It's all about the defense," Shapiro said. "We knew if we could get our offense the ball they could move it down the field."
The Wildcats got to within five after recording a safety, but a 19-6 advantage in the third quarter -- and a streak of 20 unanswered points to end the game -- all but put the game away for King's.
Alex Galgano led Murphy with 159 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Quarterback Hans VanderWel carried 11 times for 70 net yards, with most of them coming on a 70-yard touchdown run.
In the end, the Wildcats couldn't overcome four turnovers -- two interceptions and two lost fumbles. The Wildcats also turned the ball over on downs three times, once on the King's 2-yard line.
Winning the conference opener was a big goal for King's, but the Knights are hardly ready to call the season a success just because of it. They have a film session today and already are focused on next week's game against South Whidbey.
"Our theme for every week is going 1-0," Shapiro said. "Obviously, you build from the momentum."
At Archbishop Murphy H.S.
King's 7 7 19 7 -- 40
Archbishop Murphy 7 2 6 0 -- 15
AM--Hans VanderWel 48 run (Mason Bailey kick)
K--Caleb Taylor 32 pass from Billy Green (Lucas Swanson kick)
K--Green 17 run (Swanson kick)
AM--King's tackled in endzone for safety
K--Brian Hughes 6 pass from Green (pass failed)
AM--Alex Galgano 70 run (2-point conversion pass failed)
K-- Ben Welch 28 pass from Green (Swanson kick)
K-- Taylor 7 pass from Green (kick blocked)
K--Taylor 6 pass from Green (Swanson kick)
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