King’s battles hard against defending state champs | Football

Knights upbeat after giving Wildcats all they can handle in 35-7 league opening loss
By David Pan | Sep 21, 2017 
King’s came out on the losing end in its league opener against defending 2A state champion Archbishop Murphy.

But you wouldn’t necessarily know that looking at the Knights after the game and listening to coach Jim Shapiro.

Players and coaches left Terry Ennis Stadium upbeat despite a 35-7 loss in a Cascade Conference football game Friday, Sept. 15, at Archbishop Murphy High School in Everett.

King’s previously has lost to 2A Burlington-Edison and 3A Lakeside before Friday night’s clash with the Wildcats.

“The last three games we competed against very good football teams,” Shapiro said. “Tonight is a state-caliber football team. We competed with them toe-to-toe. That gives us hope.”

Archbishop Murphy took a 7-0 led on a 20-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Victor Gabalis to wide receiver Dillon Singh Halpin. Late in the second quarter, the Knights (0-1 in the league, 0-3 overall) blocked a field goal attempt and took over the ball deep in their own territory.

The Wildcats’ defense then forced a fumble and John Land-Quinn returned the ball nine yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 halftime lead.

“I talk about momentum all the time,” Shapiro said. “We had it. We just can’t give up that type of turnover versus a team like that. Those are the little things we’ve got to take care of.”

The Knights’ didn’t dwell on the turnover and subsequent Wildcats’ touchdown. Instead sophomore quarterback Luke Marion threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Max Lane to cut the deficit to 14-7 in the third quarter.

“They just mentally don’t let those things impact them,” Shapiro said of the turnover. “They’re the most mentally tough team I’ve coached in 24 years.”

Archbishop Murphy responded with a 12-yard TD run by running back Ray Pimental and headed into the final period with a 21-7 lead.

“I thought we gave them the best fight that they’re going to get,” senior lineman Taylor Schoenfeld said. “In the trenches, we played well. … We take this as a building block. This is the best team in the Cascade Conference and we fought them toe-to-toe. So that means we can fight any other team and we believe that. We’re going to give it just as much as we gave against Archbishop tonight.”

The Wildcats scored a couple of late touchdowns in the fourth quarter. With the Knights focused on trying to stop the Wildcats from getting a first down, senior running back Ben Hines broke through the line and ran 40 yards for a touchdown. Archbishop Murphy’s Colin Guy then recovered a fumble on the subsequent kickoff and returned it 15 yards for the final touchdown.

The King’s passing attack moved the ball against Archbishop Murphy.

Marion, who was knocked out of the game during a scramble, completed 16 of 22 passes for 152 yards and one touchdown with one interception. His favorite target was wide receiver Jace Fransen, who caught nine passes for 78 yards.

“We proved that we can throw on this team,” Shapiro said. “We also proved to ourselves that we’re a throwing football team.”

Schoenfeld said that the key was pass protection.

“We give them (quarterbacks) time, we’re going to complete our passes,” Schoenfeld said. “Our skill guys are really talented and we’ve got guys that can put the ball in the right spots, as long as we give them time.”

Senior Brennon Blevins came in for Marion, but he also eventually had to leave due to a leg bruise. Third-stringer Casey Needham finished the game for the Knights.

Shapiro didn’t know the extent of either injury but was hopeful Marion and Blevins will be healthy for the team’s next game against Cedarcrest (7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 22 at Woolsey Stadium).

Archbishop Murphy’s offense suffered a blow when senior running back Kyler Gordon left the game with a leg injury during the first offensive series. The Wildcats turned to Pimental, who rushed for 195 yards on 27 carries, and Hines, who had 122 yards on 11 carries. Gabalis completed five of 10 passes for 81 yards.

“Teams that play Archbishop try to do special stuff. We didn’t do anything special,” Shapiro said. “We lined up on our assignments. We played football. They definitely ran hard at us. But our kids played tough.”

Schoenfeld saw a solid effort from the defense that limited a team that scored 37 points against Garfield and 54 points against Bishop Blanchet to only three touchdowns.

“We knew this was going to be a battle,” Schoenfeld said. “The effort was the No. 1 key that we used to shut down their offense.”