Dynamic RB duo Perry, Cline lead King’s to 48-7 win over Sultan

SULTAN — King’s will have to wait two weeks before opening the Class 1A District Playoffs, but coach Jim Shapiro and his Knights couldn’t have asked for better preparation Friday evening against Cascade Conference up-and-comer Sultan.

And in what Shapiro billed as a playoff atmosphere — a road game against a one-loss team — the Knights proved they could be primed for a playoff run.

Senior running back duo Caleb Perry and Andrew Cline powered the Knights’ rushing attack, and King’s defense limited Sultan to a season-low seven points to help the Knights earn a 48-7 league win at Sultan.

“Every game from here on out is a playoff game,” Shapiro said, “so it was exactly what we needed.”

Perry ran for 201 yards and four touchdowns on 16 carries, and Cline added 71 yards and a score on 10 rushes. Quarterback Jack Van Dyke completed 7 of 16 passes for 103 yards, and threw touchdown passes to Brennon Blevins and Breven Campbell.

Sultan was led by running back Andy Sam, who rushed for 85 yards on 13 carries and scored the Turks only touchdown, which came early in the fourth quarter.

The win earned King’s (5-1 league, 6-2 overall) the Cascade Conference’s top 1A seed in the district playoffs, setting the Knights up with a winner-to-state game against the Northwest Conference’s Class 1A No. 2 seed, which will be either Meridian or Nooksack Valley. That game will take place in two weeks. Sultan (3-2, 6-2), which snapped a two-game winning streak, ends its regular season next Friday at Granite Falls.

Perry put King’s on the board first, capping a quick seven-play, 56-yard opening drive with a 3-yard TD run. Sultan hung with the Knights, moving the ball early on, but a collection of crucial first-half miscues crippled the Turks.

An interception thrown by Sultan QB Alex Perrigo deep in his own territory led to Perry’s second touchdown, which put King’s in front 13-0 with 10:58 to play in the second quarter. A fumbled handoff exchange recovered by Knights defensive back Jace Fransen set up King’s third score — an electric 40-yard touchdown run by Perry — who shed at least five tacklers on his way to paydirt.

A 34-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass from Van Dyke to Blevins on a fourth-and-11 with 2 seconds remaining in the half delivered a decisive blow Sultan seemingly couldn’t recover from.

“I don’t know if we really created (the turnovers), but I think we were at the right place at the right time,” Shapiro said. “We talk about alignment-assignment, and the ball came our way, so I’m not going to complain. The turnover game in any high school game is going to be the difference.”

That was certainly the case Friday at Sultan. King’s won the turnover battle 3-0, and scored touchdowns on each extra possession.

Perry and Cline helped put the game away early in the second half. Cline scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 8:04 to play in the third, giving the Knights a 34-0 advantage, and Perry showcased his blazing speed on a 76-yard TD run that gave King’s a 41-0 lead and a running clock with 11:44 to play in the fourth quarter.

“Caleb and Andrew both rushed for over 1,100 yards last year, so it’s a good two-headed monster,” Shapiro said. “But obviously Caleb’s speed has evolved a lot in the offseason, so at any level he is one of the fastest kids in the state.”

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