The Royal Knights are the defending State 1A champion and winners of five of the past six championships. They are now one game away from adding to that legacy.
Dylan Allred connected with fellow senior Edgar Delarosa for four touchdowns – three in the first half – as Royal built a big lead and the top-seeded Knights handled the 12th-seeded Freeman Scotties 57-21 in a 1A semifinal at Lions Field in Moses Lake on Saturday.
Allred finished 17 of 23 for 248 passing yards for Royal (12-1). He added 112 yards on the ground with a score. Delarosa finished with six catches for 100 yards.
Royal will face 10th-seeded Mount Baker in the final next week. The Mountaineers edged third-seeded Nooksack Valley 14-13 in the other semifinal.
Boen Phelps completed 22 of 45 passes for 272 yards with a TD pass and added 81 rushing yards on 16 carries with touchdown runs of 47 and 5 yards for the Scotties (9-3).
Freeman knocked off the fourth and fifth seeds to reach the state semifinal.
“We had joy in the trip,” Freeman coach Ben Cochran said. “Yep, an amazing trip.”
For their effort, the Scotties drew the classification’s juggernaut.
“When you’re in the semifinals, these guys aren’t here by chance,” Cochran said. “It’s not like a nonleague game – they’re here for a reason. You know, they’re good.
“They’re the most complete team that we’ve seen.”
“We were trying to prepare all week,” Phelps said. “It was a tough battle. We knew they were going to be disciplined. We knew they would come out strong and they did.”
On Royal’s first possession, Allred hit tight end Bennett Brown for 31 yards to the Freeman 18. On fourth-and-goal from the 6, Delarosa made a tough catch in the back corner of the end zone in traffic and a 2-point conversion made it 8-0 early.
Freeman went three-and-out. Royal advanced and on third down at the Scotties 33, Allred tucked it in and went the distance to put Royal up 15-0.
Ethan Ellis grabbed an errant Phelps throw at the Royal 46 and took it back all the way for a 22-0 lead.
“It’s never easy to come back and score after they scored like that,” Phelps said. “But our guys battled and that’s what I’m happy about.”
Freeman picked up a first down near midfield and Phelps broke one up the middle for a 47-yard TD run to make it two-score game.
On Royal’s next play, Scotties defensive back Ryan Delcour hauled in a lob by Allred and returned it to the Knights 44, but Freeman turned it over on downs.
Two plays later, Allred hit Delarosa on a post for a 52-yard touchdown. The pair connected again on Royal’s next series on a 15-yard slant for a score and it was 36-7 with 8 1/2 minutes left in the half.
The Knights made it 43-7 early in the third on a 17-yard TD run by Kaleb Hernandez (14 carries, 117 yards, two TDs).
Early in the fourth quarter, Delcour made his second interception of the game at the Freeman 39. Phelps found Luke Whitaker for 26 yards to the Royal 5 and Phelps did the rest of it himself on the next play. The conversion failed, and it was 43-13.
Allred and Delarosa connected for their fourth TD of the game with 5½ minutes left, a 16-yard score.
Phelps hit Sage Gilbert (nine catches, 137 yards) on a 44-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter.
(5) Liberty Bell 70, (1) Odessa 24: Odessa’s Gage Starkel rushed for 361 yards with five TDs last week, so the game plan was simple for Liberty Bell: Stop No. 25.
“I would, too,” Odessa coach Larry Weber said. “I’d say that was smart.”
The Mountain Lions (11-2) did for the most part, and the Tigers – No. 1 in the state all season – had no answer for Liberty Bell QB Riley Lidey.
Lidey completed 17 of 29 passes for 379 yards with seven touchdowns and ran 12 times for 113 yards – all on scrambles – with a score.
“(Lidey) really bailed them out a lot,” Weber said. “We didn’t know what to do about it.”
Liberty Bell faces second-seeded Neah Bay, an 82-24 winner over third-seeded Liberty Christian, in the title game next week.
Odessa had opened its season with a 42-22 win over Liberty Bell.
Starkel managed 159 on 19 carries – with 58 yards coming on a fourth-quarter touchdown run well after it was decided.
“Physicality,” Weber said of the difference. “They were more physical than us.”
“They were really keying on me up the middle,” Starkel said. “They were just making it hard to do anything.”
Lidey had two touchdown passes before the game was 7 minutes old.
Odessa’s Collin Martin hit Chad Strebeck for 36 yards into Mountain Lions territory. Three plays later, the QB called his own number on a 10-yard TD run and the 2-pointer made it 16-8.
But Remington Paz gathered a swing pass from Lidey and went 13 yards on the second play of the second quarter to increase the lead to 22-8.
The interior line for the Mountain Lions stuffed Corbyn Neilsen on fourth-and-1 at the Odessa 44. On the next play, Lidey hit Merek Johnson on an out route and the senior took it the distance for a 30-8 lead with 10 minutes left in the half.
On Odessa’s next possession Martin tried to go deep, but Sawyer Crandall outjumped Strebeck for an interception at the LB 12.
Odessa’s defense held on fourth-and 15 at its 17, but the Tigers (10-1) fumbled it right back. On the next play, Lidey hit Paz on a swing pass for a touchdown and 36-8 lead.
The Mountain Lions recovered an onside kick. After a 21-yard completion to Crandall to the Odessa 12, Lidey broke a tackle for a 13-yard TD and 42-8 lead with just more than 4 minutes in the half.
Odessa attacked the edges on its next drive, with Starkel gaining 25 yards on two option pitches. On first-and-goal at the 14, Martin hit Zane McMillan in the back corner of the end zone just before half and the Tigers trailed 42-16 at intermission.
Early in the third the Tigers recovered a fumble and drove to the LB 11, but Martin’s fourth-down pass was intercepted by Crandall in the end zone.
The Mountain Lions went 80 yards in seven plays, and Paz’s 17-yard run made it 50-16. Liberty Bell recovered the onside kick and five plays later Paz went up the middle for a 5-yard TD run and 40-point lead.
(1) Napavine 49, (4) Chewelah 6: The Tigers (12-0) topped the Cougars (9-3) at Tumwater District Stadium. Napavine faces second-seeded Okanogan in the championship next week.
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