On a wet night, a nightmarish second quarter sank King’s in its play-in playoff game against Lynden Christian, Thursday, Nov. 6 at Woolsey Stadium.
Lynden Christian shut out King’s 27-0 in the second quarter thanks to three King’s turnovers that the Lyncs turned into touchdowns.
King’s mounted a comeback with touchdowns late in the third quarter and in the fourth quarter but it came too late to close the gap in the 27-14 season-ending loss. The Knights turned the ball over six times while the Lyncs did not turn it over at all.
“Every game we’ve won this year is because we’ve controlled the turnover game. Tonight we didn’t get it done,” King’s coach Jim Shapiro said.
After Lynden Christian stopped King’s on fourth down at the Lyncs’ 19-yard line, the Lyncs embarked on a 12-play, 81-yard drive, capped by a 3-yard touchdown run by Niels Brisbane. The Lyncs next three scores, 2-yard and 1-yard touchdown runs by Brisbane, and a 1-yard touchdown catch by Jacob Knibbe from Daniel Ten Broek, came after a fumble and two interceptions, respectively. King’s quarterback Thomas Vincent threw five interceptions in the game, a season-high.
“A couple of them were just kind of being lucky, being in the right place at the right time,” Lynden Christian coach Dan Kaemingk said. “Some of them we were doing a good job reading their eyes. Yeah, if a team passes that much more than it runs, that makes it a little easier to defend. But they did some wonderful things in the second half that gave us some trouble and made it a very interesting game.”
King’s scored late in the third quarter on a 13-play, 89-yard drive capped by a 1-yard run by Vincent. The Knights scored on their next possession on a 29-yard pass from Vincent to Michael McCardle with 8:11 to go.
King’s got the ball back with 2:43 left hoping to get another score and try for an onside kick, but Vincent was pressured and Knibbe intercepted him.
Junior linebacker Jackson Lilleness led the King’s defense with 18 tackles, a team-high for the season.
Brisbane rushed for 144 yards on 35 carries and three touchdowns while David Kooiman had 70 yards on 19 carries for Lynden Christian. The Lyncs, who finished with 308 total yards, 217 rushing and 91 passing, had 206 yards at the half.
“Defensively we had hard time stopping their off tackle play, obviously at halftime we adjusted,” Shapiro said.
King’s only had 55 total yards at the half, but finished with 192 total yards.
Vincent, a sophomore first-year starter, completed 9-of-22 passes for 101 yards while sophomore running back, Zack Berg, a second-year starter, rushed for 72 yards on six carries. John Burley, who played after missing last week’s game because of a torn Achilles, caught six passes for 60 yards to lead King’s receivers.
Despite the disappointing end to a 4-6 season, the King’s coaches and players felt good about what they accomplished a year after going winless on the field despite fielding a young team with few experienced seniors.
“This was a turnaround season, it really was,” Shapiro said.
“Unbelievable, it was a totally different team this year,” said senior Burley. “I love every single one of these guys out here.”
King’s also won the Class 1A academic championship with a 3.29 team grade point average.
The game was stopped for nearly 15 minutes in the second quarter and an ambulance came to the field after King’s senior Spencer Woods broke his leg.
Woods suffered what was believed to be a compound fracture of his tibia after he collided with Burley, after he broke through the line in an attempt to block the extra point following Lynden Christian’s third touchdown.
The Woolsey crowd was a bit sparse since most King’s students were studying for finals on Friday.