ROYAL CITY — Logan Gomez doesn’t exactly have a Von Miller-like speed rush coming off the edge, but the 6-foot, 240-pound Royal senior, who’s played on two 1A state championship teams, knows how to make due with technique and a bull rush.
Connell (3-2, 2-1 East) came to town with an offensive line going 280, 270, 270, 250 across the front and the battle in the trenches during a steady rain was as intense as any individual match up on the field in Friday night’s SCAC East showdown at David Nielsen Stadium.
Gomez stood his ground in the A-gap and the Knights defensive effort smothered the Eagles, holding Connell to just 54 total yards, pitching their fourth shutout in six games with a 42-0 victory.
“They came out with some stuff we haven’t seen before, but we all did our assignments and adjusted,” said Gomez, who finished with two tackles, an assist and a fumble recovery in the second quarter. “That was a big line. Okanogan might have been bigger, but we held our own.
“I like to bull rush. We feed off each other and wore them down at the end.”
Michael Perez, a 5-11, 240 junior, finished up the night with two solos, three assists and two tackles for a loss. Javier Huitron, a 5-7, 205 senior gave up some size, but made up for it with a speed technique, finishing the game with one solo, five assists and a tackle for a loss.
In all, the Knights (6-0, 3-0 SCAC East) had eight tackles for a loss and held the Eagles to just 15 yards rushing and 39 passing for 54 total yards.
As the defensive line dug in, it freed up the linebackers. Middle linebacker Alonso Hernandez had a team-high seven solo tackles, two for a loss. Outside linebacker Carter Dorsing was active, wrapping up the night with three solos, two assists and two for a loss. Hernandez and Dorsing had a sack apiece on a defense that harassed Eagles quarterback Austin Smith (6-for-12-39) all night long.
“It’s hard to say whether the offense feeds off the defense or the defense gets us going. I think in this game we just feed off each other,” defensive back Tyler Allred said. “This week we wanted to cover the gaps with our D-line and get good coverage in the secondary. If the line puts pressure up front, it makes our job easier on the back end.
“This year feels great. I played mostly special teams last year, so it’s next man up and we all want to make a difference.”
The Royal defense went into the game allowing just four points a game with three, now four, shutouts. They were prime and the offense, which is averaging 52.16 points a game, turned loose the dogs on a team they played in the 2016 1A state championship game.
Sawyer Jenks had arguably the best passing effort of his career, finishing 10-of-21 for 209 yards and five touchdowns. The 6-5, 205-pound senior had 53 and 60-yard strikes to Angel Farias (3-120). He also found Owen Ellis for touchdowns of 8 and 9 yards, and connected with Gage Christensen on a 26-yarder right before the intermission.
Hernandez had his game going, rushing for 143 yards on 17 carries, including a 47-yard burst to the goal line where he punched it in on the next play.
The win extends the third longest winning streak in the nation, according to MaxPreps, to 47 consecutive victories.
Royal will play at Kiona-Benton on Friday.
Connell 0 0 0 0 - 0
Royal 14 14 14 0 - 42
R - Owen Ellis 6 pass from Sawyer Jenks (Osvaldo Guerrero kick)
R - Angel Farias 53 pass from Jenks (Guerrero kick)
R - Farias 60 pass from Jenks (Guerrero kick)
R - Gage Christensen 26 pass from Jenks (Guerrero kick)
R - Alonso Hernandez 2 run (Guerrero kick)
R - Ellis 9 pass from Jenks (Guerrero kick)C