Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Royal football stomps Toppenish

by Rebecca Pettingill
Staff Writer | November 22, 2021 1:00 AM

ROYAL CITY — The Royal High School Knights football team beat the Toppenish High School Wildcats in the quarterfinals of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association State Championship 1A football tournament 59-6 on Saturday.

From the beginning, the Knights showed Toppenish they meant business. Being undefeated so far this season, and having consistent state appearances over the last 10 years, Royal had a lot to lose if it was not victorious in this match.

Right out of the gate, Royal was immediately able to push toward its end zone and score a touchdown with 11 minutes, three seconds left in the quarter. This was only the beginning; however, the Knights weren’t slowing down.

Right and left they sliced through Toppenish’s defenses, scoring three touchdowns in the first quarter and shutting out the Wildcats.

Quarter two saw touchdown after touchdown by the Knights. Twenty-eight points in the second quarter to be exact, which was their highest scoring quarter of the game. One Royal touchdown to note was the result of a 60-yard pass from senior Derek Bergeson to his twin Luke Bergeson.

By halftime, the Knights were leading 49-0, with a running clock.

The third quarter slowed down a bit, as the fog started rolling in and temperatures on the chilly day started to set in on the players. Royal scored only one touchdown but continued to shut out Toppenish from scoring. Multiple times Royal almost intercepted passes made by Toppenish, but the ball seemed to keep barely slipping out of Royal’s hands.

The fourth quarter began with the Knights ahead 56-0, but picked up the speed the third quarter lacked. Even the final seconds of the game got interesting when Toppenish nearly made a touchdown. In what looked to be a tackle at the 1-yard line by Royal, the referees called a penalty on the Knights for roughing the passer and put eight seconds back on the clock. Toppenish used the time to score a touchdown, but in the process received a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. Due to the yardage they lost, the Wildcats decided to go for a two-point conversion with 2.8 seconds left on the clock. The two-point conversion failed when they fumbled the ball in the final moments.

Royal took the victory 59-6.

Ultimately, the Knights were able to pass and rush for more yards than the Wildcats without incurring as many penalties. For comparison, Royal had six penalties for 39 yards and Toppenish had 20 penalties for 92 yards.

“They’re a physically tough team and we felt like if we played things right, they’d have a hard time stopping us,” Royal head coach Wiley Allred said.

The Knights will play King’s High School in the semifinals at 1 p.m. Saturday at Royal High School.

“There’s four teams left and we’re one of them, so that’s awesome,” said Allred.

Allred said the team is only focused on the next game and it plays each week to be 1-0. Royal displayed in Saturday’s game why its school got four state championships in the last five years. This year might be another championship year for the Knights.

Box Score

Royal - 21 28 7 3 - 59

Toppenish - 0 0 0 6 - 6


Rebecca Pettingill/Columbia Basin Herald

Royal senior Gunnar Anderson (81) is tackled as he reaches the 5-yard line during the first quarter of the game Saturday.


Rebecca Pettingill/Columbia Basin Herald

Royal players smile after the game in which they triumphed over Toppenish to move on to the semifinals in the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association State Championship.