By David Krueger Herald Writer
ABERDEEN — King’s star quarterback Billy Green is known as one of the best pocket passers in the state of Washington.
Saturday afternoon, he might have established himself as a dual-threat quarterback.
Green threw for two touchdowns — and ran for two more — accounting for all four of King’s touchdowns as the Knights rolled off 28 unanswered points in a 28-13 win over Hoquiam in the first round of the 1A state tournament at Olympic Stadium in Hoquiam.
“I was taking what they were giving me,” Green said. “They were letting me run. The holes were open. Everyone calls me a pocket passer but I feel like I can run too.”
After starting the game 1-for-8 for two yards, the Brigham Young University commit finished 20-of-30 for 232 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Green added 72 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns on 14 carries.
“Whatever way to get yards,” Green said. “It doesn’t matter to me if I’m running or passing. As long as we’re putting up points I’m fine.”
The Knights needed Green to jumpstart their stagnant offense. After rarely punting all season — Green estimated “five or six times” — King’s punted on its first three drives. A couple early Hoquiam touchdowns put the Knights in a 13-0 hole, which hadn’t happened a whole lot for King’s (11-0 overall) this season.
Green said Hoquiam (10-1) came out with the opposite gameplan that the Knights anticipated. They thought the Grizzlies would bring pressure on Green, but they only brought three or four people to the line of scrimmage, and dropped the rest into coverage.
King’s and Green kept their cool, and began throwing shorter passes that picked the Hoquiam defense apart.
“We weren’t too rattled at all. We’ve been down in games before,” Green said. “We came together as a team and said, ‘Come on this could be our last game ever.’”
On the sideline, Knights’ head coach Jim Shapiro also had all the confidence in the world in his team.
“We’ve been down in the first game versus Lynden, and Archbishop Murphy struck first in that game,” he said. “The kids have showed some resilience early in the season. That’s part of the backbone of this program.”
The resiliency began with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Green to Trevor Hansen, who finished the game with 11 carries for 68 yards, in the second quarter. King’s tried to get another one with less than 30 seconds left in the half, but Green threw an interception on fourth and two while scrambling to avoid heavy pressure by the Grizzlies’ defense.
“On fourth and two we’re going to go for it,” Green said. “Especially down on the goal line. We feel like we can get it 99 percent of the time.”
The Knights went into halftime with 171 yards of offense, compared to 112 for Hoquiam. However, the Grizzlies still had a six point advantage after Nolan Hoiness’ second touchdown of the game, a nine-yard touchdown run.
The second half belonged to King’s, with the Knights scoring touchdowns on their first two drives of the half. The first was on a four-yard run by Green that gave King’s its first lead of the game with 5:27 remaining in the third quarter. King’s added another score when Alex Brouwer caught a nine-yard touchdown pass from Green.
The senior quarterback added another touchdown run, from 1-yard out, in the closing seconds on fourth and goal from the 1-yard line to seal the victory.
“We, as an offense, started out a little slow, but as Billy finds his rhythm he does a great job and just steps up,” Shapiro said. “In the second half he just shows who he is. He steps up and runs and throws. He’s who you want when the game’s on the line.”
King’s finished with 384 yards of total offense, compared to 216 yard for Hoquiam.
After its last touchdown, Hoquiam’s final five drives resulted in three punts, an interception and a turnover on downs. Hoiness led the Grizzlies with 23 carries for 134 yards and 49 receiving yards.
“I would give kudos to Hoquiam,” Shapiro said. “They’re a high-quality opponent.”
One scary moment occurred when King’s receiver Ben Welch got hit hard after making a 15-yard catch to continue the Knights’ scoring drive in the final minutes of the game. Play was stopped for several minutes as he received help off the field.
Shapiro said that the injury wasn’t as severe as it looked, with Welch suffering a muscle strain. The King’s coach said he’s “questionable” for next week’s game, which is against a familiar opponent for the Knights.
King’s will play Montesano in the quarterfinals of the 1A state tournament in Aberdeen next weekend. The Knights lost to the Bulldogs 35-13 in the quarterfinals of last year’s state tournament.
“They know us, we know them,” Shapiro said. “It’s always exciting to play top caliber programs like Montesano.”
Said Green: “We’re very excited. They got us last year, so we want to come back strong. It’ll be a good matchup of two very strong teams.”
At Olympic Stadium
H—Nolan Hoiness 41 pass from Evan Erickson (Erickson kick)
H—Hoiness 9 run (kick failed)
K—Trevor Hansen 30 pass from Billy Green (Ryan Fransen kick)
K—Green 4 run (Fransen kick)
K—Alex Brouwer 9 pass from Green (Franson kick)
K—Green 1 run (Fransen kick)
Records—King’s 11-0 overall. Hoquiam 10-1.