Unbeatens Lakewood and King's, the cream of the Cascade Conference crop, put on a show Friday night, with the Knights defeating Lakewood 55-42 at Woolsey Stadium to earn their first-ever conference title.
"It was going to be a track race," King's head coach Jim Shapiro said. "You look up at the scoreboard, 55-42. I didn't expect anything less."
Dan Teeter, the Lakewood coach, agreed.
"That was two high-quality teams going out and leaving it all on the field, laying it all on the line, whatever cliché you want to use," he said. "It was not a sloppy game. It was people just executing and making a lot of plays and they made a few more than we did tonight. I congratulate them. It's well deserved."
King's began to pull away in the second half thanks in large part to senior quarterback Billy Green, who completed 23 of 34 passes for 312 yards. He threw six touchdowns to five different receivers. When asked about his performance, Green gave credit to his receivers, offensive line and coaches.
"We had a great game plan going into the week," he said. "We knew they were going to try to stop the pass, so we started pounding the ball in a little bit early on. ... Then we started opening up the passing game on them. My receivers did a great job getting open and my line gave me time all night."
Trevor Hansen had 12 carries for 96 yards and a touchdown for King's. Green had touchdown passes of 81, 34, 33, 24, 9 and 1 yard in the game.
Early on, it looked like the Knights would need all of them.
The teams combined for 34 points in the first quarter and another 28 in the second. Lakewood pulled out all the stops in the first half, with running back Donovan Evans throwing a 61-yard touchdown pass to Justin Peterson on a halfback pass. With 16 seconds left in the first half, the Cougars' executed a hook-and-ladder play for a 36-yard touchdown to make the score 34-28 at the break.
Lakewood's Kolby Schueller threw the ball 15 yards downfield and Peterson leaped in the air and shuffled it back to Brandon Stott who grabbed it and ran the final 21 yards for a touchdown.
That was all after Stott, a wide receiver, scored on an 83-yard run on Lakewood's first offensive play.
"It's totally a fun game," Shapiro said. "At halftime the kids are smiling. They're working but it was really a matter of those guys going out and giving their best."
Teeter said his team works on a few trick plays every week, and tries to modify them a little bit so teams don't know what to expect.
"We work on those things," Teeter said. "Sometimes we call them more, sometimes we don't. There's nothing to lose here. When you have talented athletes that can make multiple pitches and those things, you can have fun calling it."
The game featured the top seeds from the Cascade Conference in each classification. Lakewood, the No. 3-ranked 2A team in the state, and King's, the No. 1 1A team. Both had previously clinched No.1 seeds in their respective district tournaments.
"That was a great game between two championship-caliber teams," Teeter said.
Peterson finished with 10 carries for 45 yards rushing and two touchdowns for Lakewood. He caught the halfback pass from Evans and threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Alec Gotts. He finished 5-for-7 for 118 yards.
Evans had 78 yards rushing -- on 14 carries -- and went 2-for-2 passing for 68 yards. Schueller finished the game 10-of-15 for 141 yards before leaving in the fourth quarter after getting hit hard on a sack. Teeter said Schueller had a possible concussion and would be evaluated by a doctor.
The win was the second against a strong 2A opponent for King's, which defeated defending 2A state champion -- and second-ranked -- Lynden 42-39 in week 1. Green said this victory gives the Knights another confidence boost with the 1A playoffs approaching.
"It gives us a lot of momentum going into the playoffs knowing that we just beat a top-five 2A team," Green said. "They're a great team. This is a big win for our team. The whole team has a lot more confidence going in knowing we can compete with these big time teams. And we've done it all year, Lynden, Archbishop (Murphy), Lakewood now. The team's just done a great job."
Shapiro agreed, saying it was great for the Cascade Conference to have two strong teams going into the playoffs. Two teams that just a few years ago were pretty far from the postseason.
"To have this game leading into the playoffs is pretty phenomenal," Shapiro said. "They're going to do well. They're comparable to Lynden and others. It's a pretty exciting time for them. Both programs have turned it around in the last couple years. I expect them to go real deep."
Teeter said it would've been nice to go undefeated and get the league title, but when you have two undefeated teams on the field, something's got to give.
"If we played each other multiple times, it'd be pretty evenly split I think," he said. "We were hoping we could go undefeated, but when you see great teams, somebody's going to come out with a loss.
"We made them work for it," he continued. "We never felt like we were out of it. Time just became the enemy when they got that last score. There's no quit in us."
Both teams say they are now rooting for each other as they begin their respective playoff runs. Green said King's should take some time to enjoy the victory, but will soon focus on its next opponent.
"It's awesome. It's the first time we've ever won the Cascade Conference. It's huge for us and coach Shapiro," he said. "Now we just have to focus one week at a time. This is a big win for us but we've got to move on and focus on the next team we're playing because now if we lose we're done. We don't want a game to come up and bite us in the butt."
At Woolsey Stadium
Lakewood 14 14 0 14--42
King's 20 14 8 13--55
King's–Caleb Taylor 9 pass from Billy Green (Lucas Swanson kick)
Lake–Brandon Stott 73 run (Randy Anaya kick)
King's–Ben Welch 34 pass from Green (Swanson kick)
Lake–Alec Gotts 25 pass from Justin Peterson (Anaya kick)
King's–Chris Parker 24 pass from Green (kick blocked)
King's–Swanson 81 pass from Green (Swanson kick)
Lake–Peterson 61 pass from Evans (Anaya kick)
King's–Parker 1 pass from Green (Swanson kick)
Lake–Stott 36 pass from Kolby Schueller/Peterson (Anaya kick)
King's–Trevor Hansen 33 pass from Green (Brian Hughes pass from Caleb Taylor)
King's–Welch 5 run (Swanson kick)
Lake–Peterson 3 run (Anaya kick)
King's–Hansen 5 run (run failed)
Lake–Peterson 3 run (Anaya kick)
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