ROYAL CITY — The Royal football team kept its postseason run rolling on Saturday afternoon with a 62-6 win over Omak to advance to the semifinals of the 1A State playoffs on Saturday.
The Pioneers looked ready to give the Knights a battle early on. Opening the game, Omak was able to drive the ball down the field with a couple of big strikes along the way to open up a 6-0 lead over the Knights on the home field.
Royal was able to respond on the following drive, as the Knights capped off a long drive with a touchdown run by Lorenzo Myrick to take the 7-6 lead with four minutes to play in the first quarter. Holding Omak on their next drive, the Knights struck for another score on the first play of the drive as Caleb Christensen connected with Cooper Christensen for the 13-yard touchdown to go up 14-6.
The Knights opened the second quarter with the ball on the one-yard line. Caleb Christensen ran in on the quarterback sneak to put Royal up 20-6 early in the second quarter. Tyler Allred picked off Omak quarterback Aaron Black for the touchdown with just over eight minutes to play in the first half. The Pioneers would fumble on the first play of their following drive to give the ball right back to the Knights.
Caleb Christensen would find Derek Bergeson quickly for the nine-yard touchdown strike to put the Knights ahead 34-6 just under midway through the second quarter. Another Omak fumble would give ball back to Royal, with Christensen and Christensen connecting for the second time of the half on a 37-yard touchdown pass. The Knights took a 41-6 advantage into the locker room.
Caleb Christensen connected with Bergeson on a 30-yard pass for the score to open up the scoring in the third quarter for Royal. Cooper and Caleb Christensen would connect midway through the quarter on a 44-yard touchdown strike, giving Royal a commanding 55-6 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Caleb Christensen hit Carter Dorsing in the corner of the end zone on a 19-yard pass to cap off the win in the fourth as the Knights held on for the 62-6 win to advance.
The Knights finished with 361 yards of offense for the game, while surrendering 130 to Omak. Caleb Christensen had a big day through the air, finishing with six touchdowns and 271 yards on 12 of 17 attempts. Christensen also added a touchdown on the ground.
Cooper Christensen led the Royal receiving core, with four catches for 122 yards and three touchdowns. Bergeson had five catches for 99 yards and two scores. Myrick led the way for the Knights on the ground, with 45 yards on seven rushes and a score.
Elliot Delay led the Knights defense with 10 tackles, while Bergeson was close behind with nine of his own. The Knights finished with four takeaways as well, with two interceptions and a pair of fumble recoveries.
Royal head coach Wiley Allred gave credit to talented players on the defensive line for Omak, being able to apply pressure early against the Knights.
“They’re a good football team and they did a great job,” Allred said. “Caleb just had a great game. Early on, they weren’t really bringing extra guys, they were just beating us. They have a couple of D-tackles that are big time.”
After another strong outing, Allred credited the work his junior quarterback has put in to be able to reach the level he’s playing at now.
“He’s been great, he’s worked so hard at it, he’s worked in the offseason and he’s a smart kid,” Allred said. “People are starting to figure out how good he really is. And, today, Derek Bergeson and Cooper were pretty special. We’ve got a good receiving core.”
The Royal head coach said he’s happy with the way his team is playing right now, especially with so many new faces starting coming into the year.
“I love it, we’ve got ten new starters on offense, eight on defense and the kids have just worked hard,” Allred said. “And a couple of these sophomores, we’ve got three sophomore linebackers that all play their butts off, and it’s really good. It’s fun to coach them.”
Caleb Christensen said after the win that he just wants to take things one game at a time.
“We’ve got Connell next week and they’re really good so that’s gonna be a tough one,” Christensen said. “But we’ll enjoy this one and try and carry the momentum into next week.”
Caleb Christensen said having playmakers like he does on the offensive side of the ball helps relieve pressure as a quarterback.
“It makes my job so much easier,” he said. “I mean you can really just pick on and go to it and hit it and they’ll make plays and dump it off really quick, so it’s really fun to have them.”
Caleb Christensen said he expects a tough, physical game when the Knights face Connell next week, with both sides improved since they first met. Allred described their semifinal opponent the same way, tough.
“They’re physically tough and I’m sure they’re excited as can be to be there and we are too,” Allred said. “I think it’ll be a heck of a ballgame.”
The Knights defeated Connell 34-0 when they met earlier this season in early October. The semifinal game is set for Saturday, 3 p.m., at Lions Field in Moses Lake.