Knights take winning ways to showdown

Dec. 3—Royal High School will take on Eatonville High School Saturday in the 1A Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) Gridiron Classic: State Football Finals. With an undefeated season, will Royal, the defending state champs, take home its fifth state win in the past six years?

Royal head coach Wiley Allred said the season has gone well so far, with no major injuries. He has been with the Knights for 40 years; as head coach for 23 years and an assistant coach for 17 years before that.

Royal's football program has had consistent state appearances for more than 20 years straight, winning eight state championships and two second place finishes.

Allred described his team this year as a selfless group, who helped each other to be better every day.

"The goal from day one was to get better every day and they have," Allred said.

Allred said a large part of this is from having a good group of seniors and leadership. Seniors Luke Bergeson, Derek Bergeson and Avery Ellis were important scorers for the Knights. In the most recent game against King's High School, the three players accounted for all five touchdowns Royal scored. Derek Bergeson had two touchdown runs and completed two touchdown passes (one to Luke Bergeson and one to Ellis), Ellis had two touchdowns and Luke Bergeson had a touchdown reception.

Of course, every team has room for improvement and Allred said his team could be more disciplined. He said being disciplined is not easy, but it is also something every team wants more of.

The Knights had some big successes this season, such as their 73-0 win over La Salle High School, 62-0 win over Cedar Park Christian School — Bothell and 70-12 win over Wahluke High School. In the playoffs alone, Royal beat Bellevue Christian School 50-6, Toppenish High School 59-6 and King's High School 35-14.

Allred mentioned that Eatonville will be a big challenge because it is a really deep team. He also said the players look like a college offensive team. Eatonville stepped down from 2A to 1A this year, so it is a new opponent in the 1A classification.

Allred said he will be proud either way the game turns out.

"I hope they play fearless, fast and confident," Allred said of his team.

The championship game will be at noon at Harry E. Lang Stadium in Lakewood.

Pick up Monday's edition of the Columbia Basin Herald for the results and recap of the game.