Kings junior running back Braeden Caulk weaves his way for a long touchdown run against Granite Falls on Friday, Oct. 20, 2023, at Granite Falls High School in Granite Falls, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Kings junior running back Braeden Caulk weaves his way for a long touchdown run against Granite Falls on Friday, Oct. 20, 2023, at Granite Falls High School in Granite Falls, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Unbeaten King’s pulls away in second half, tops Granite Falls

The Knights break a close game open with 31 unanswered points in a 52-28 victory.

GRANITE FALLS — After a late second-quarter touchdown tied the game at 21, it looked as if the King’s High School football team could be in for its first wire-to-wire test in the Emerald Sound Conference in quite some time.

The Knights weren’t about to let that happen.

King’s capitalized on a short kickoff following the score with a field goal with one second until halftime to regain the lead. Then, the Knights proceeded to open the second half with four unanswered touchdowns to take a commanding lead.

Once again, King’s proved it’s the class of the Emerald Sound.

Junior Braeden Caulk ran for 166 yards and two touchdowns, senior Noah Clark tossed two TD passes and the Knights pulled away for a 52-28 victory over Granite Falls on Friday night.

The victory kept an unbeaten run going for King’s (8-0 overall, 3-0 Emerald Sound) and moved the program one win away from its fourth consecutive conference championship.

The Knights found success on the ground all night and piled up 327 yards on 36 runs, good for 9.1 yards per carry.

Caulk did the heavy lifting with a team-high 18 carries, sophomore Quinn Carlson had 53 yards and one TD before exiting early with an injury and freshman Garrett Hagen broke out for 98 yards and one TD on just seven carries.

Kings freshman running back Garrett Hagen tries to cut through the line on a handoff against Granite Falls on Friday, Oct. 20, 2023, at Granite Falls High School in Granite Falls, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Kings freshman running back Garrett Hagen tries to cut through the line on a handoff against Granite Falls on Friday, Oct. 20, 2023, at Granite Falls High School in Granite Falls, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Clark found success when the Knights went to the air and completed 6 of 7 passes for 125 yards.

Kaden LaPlaunt kept the Tigers (6-2, 2-1) in it early and had a hand in all four of his team’s scores. The senior quarterback completed 22 of 37 passes for 305 yards and three TDs. He also rushed for a score. Senior James Porter posted game highs of 146 receiving yards and 11 receptions, and senior Johnathan Roberts caught all three TD passes to go with 80 receiving yards.

King’s jumped out to an early 14-0 advantage on the strength of punishing rushing game. The Knights called on Caulk on their first five plays, and he responded with 49 rushing yards to march into the red zone. Carlson finished off the drive with a 17-yard TD burst. Caulk added a 5-yard TD run on King’s following possession for a 14-0 lead with 1:17 left in the first quarter.

Granite Falls answered back on the ensuing drive to spark a second-quarter surge. LaPlaunt accounted for all 80 yards of an 11-play drive with his arm and legs. His 2-yard connection with Roberts cut the deficit to 14-7 at the 9:19 mark.

Granite Falls senior quarterback Kaden LaPlaunt rolls out before completing a long throw against Kings on Friday, Oct. 20, 2023, at Granite Falls High School in Granite Falls, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Granite Falls senior quarterback Kaden LaPlaunt rolls out before completing a long throw against Kings on Friday, Oct. 20, 2023, at Granite Falls High School in Granite Falls, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

After another run-heavy King’s drive ended in a 30-yard TD run by Caulk, LaPlaunt again accounted for every yard of an 80-yard Granite Falls TD march. After connecting with Porter on three passes, LaPlaunt unloaded a well-placed ball to the corner of the end zone and Roberts made a toe-top grab for a 27-yard TD to pull the Tigers within 21-14 with 2:07 until halftime.

A fumble by the Knights on the first play of the ensuing drive opened the door for Granite Falls to tie it, and the Tigers took advantage with a quick 40-yard drive capped by LaPlaunt’s 1-yard run with 22 seconds until the break.

But, a short kick fielded by the front line of King’s kick-return unit put the ball at midfield. Clark connected with senior Caiden Castillo on a 36-yard pass to the Tigers’ 12-yard line, and Matthew Williams made a 23-yard field goal with 1 second remaining for a 24-21 lead.

Caulk’s 35-yard run on the second play of the second half put King’s back in scoring position. Two plays later, sophomore Colton Adams took a screen pass from Clark 22 yards into the end zone for 31-21 lead.

After a forcing a three-and-out, King’s drained nearly 7 minutes off the clock with 12 straight runs plays for a 61-yard TD drive. Caulk finished it off with a 3-yard run to go up 38-21 with 40 seconds left in the third.

Kings running back Braeden Caulk looks at open space while running against Granite Falls on Friday, Oct. 20, 2023, at Granite Falls High School in Granite Falls, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Kings running back Braeden Caulk looks at open space while running against Granite Falls on Friday, Oct. 20, 2023, at Granite Falls High School in Granite Falls, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Granite Falls drove into King’s territory on the next drive but fell one yard short on a fourth-down attempt. Hagen ripped off a 74-yard TD run on the next play.

After another fourth-down stop, Clark linked up with junior Jack Fuller for a 47-yard TD pass to go up 52-21.

LaPlaunt bought time with his legs before launching a 29-yard TD strike to Roberts to make it 52-28 with 27 seconds remaining.

The Knights extended their league winning streak to 15 games. The loss snapped a six-game win streak for Granite Falls.

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