Royal looks strong in district opener

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ROYAL CITY — Royal was able to take care of business in its first game of the SCAC 1A District 5 Tournament, defeating Granger 6-0 in at home on Saturday, May 4.

Miguel Torres opened up the scoring for Royal off an assist from Alonso Hernandez. Eliseo Romero and Hernandez each added goals in the first half to give the Knights a 3-0 lead headed into the break. Luis Rodriguez pushed the lead to 4-0 in the second half, chipping the goalie from outside the box. Shunsuke Jozaki and Martin Hernandez came off the bench in the second half to secure the final two goals.

The Knights were dominant for most of the game, securing 20 shots to just one by Granger. Rodriguez led Royal with five.

Head coach Jens Jensen said his team was a bit slow out of the gate.

“Granger, they’re backs are against the wall too, so they’re gonna come out and give you the best sort of 15 minutes they can give you,” he said. “So it was a bit frantic, and we had a real hard time getting settled in and controlling the ball.”

With the victory, Royal has won six of their last seven matches, including going undefeated in conference for the first time in school history.

Jensen received Coach of the Year honors from the SCAC, while eight Knights received all-league honors. Rodriguez, Alonso Hernandez, Martin Hernandez and Daniel Bonilla received first team honors. Isidro Torres, Romero and Miller were named to the second team. Lizandro Hernandez was an honorable mention.

Moving forward, Jensen said he likes his team’s chances, but it won’t be easy.

“Every team right now is good,” he said. “Maybe this next round is not the round, but when you’re talking about that final round of district and beyond, there’s no slouches. Not if you’re playing anyone on our side of the state.”

Jensen said he’s confident his team can go in and compete with anyone, but whoever advances is “gonna need some luck.”

“This game is unforgiving,” Jensen said. “It’s a one-off game. One wrong decision by the referee, one mistake by a player, one bobbled ball. I mean you have to be a little fortunate.”

With the win, the Knights move on to face Mabton on May 7 in Royal City.

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