The Knights were Kings in their season opener against Trenton Edgewood downing the Cougars 28-21 in the 10th Annual Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown Thursday night at Princeton High School’s Viking Stadium.
Assistant Editor Matt Natali has a recap from all the action.
In a grind-it-out, physical game, Kings Mills Kings looked to senior running back Conner Warye to carry the load to the tune of 32 carries for 198 yards and four TDs, including the winning score late in the third quarter.
“Our offensive line did a phenomenal job. I cannot say enough about our offensive line,” Warye said. “They worked hard, the wide receivers blocked and it was just a total team effort. What a game!
“We don’t have a very big offensive line but they can move well and they are just a bunch of gritty guys that work hard.”
Kings (1-0) came out swinging early scoring on its first possession on a 12-play, 81-yard drive finished off by a four-yard scoring run by Warye to go up 7-0 with the point after.
Edgewood (0-1) answered on the ensuing possession scoring in four plays highlighted by a 56-yard touchdown reception by senior running back John Elder out of the back field. The point after knotted the score 7-7.
On King’s next possession, it looked as though it was going to turn into a shootout with the Knights putting more points on the board. After a 35-yard kickoff return by Derrick Harris to give Kings good field position on their own 42, the Knights scored in six plays marching 58 yards capped off by a Warye 11-yard TD run.
With the point after, Kings took the 14-0 lead.
Edgewood took over late in the first quarter but on the first play of the second quarter Elder fumble and Warye recovered from his linebacker position on the Edgewood 30.
Kings capitalized on the turnover scoring in seven plays with running back Bryan Harnsnett punching the ball into the end zone from a yard out.
The Joe Bibelhausen point after attempt failed and Kings led 20-7.
The Edgewood offense buckled down on their next possession taking the ball from its own 39 chipping away on a 13-play scoring drive capped off by a Bryant Rush 5-yard TD run. The Cougars pulled within six with the point after.
Kings went into the half with a 20-14 lead.
The Knights started with the ball in the second half but on the second play from scrimmage quarterback Bruce Ernest fumble and Edgewood’s Austin House recovered on the Kings 12.
On the first play from scrimmage, Edgewood’s Johnny Harding wasted no time and took the ball 12 yards to pay dirt tying the game.
The T.J. Smith point after gave Edgewood a 21-20 lead just a minute into the third quarter.
Kings was forced to punt on its next possession but the fourth play of Edgewood’s ensuing drive, Harding fumbled and Kings linebacker Matt Day recovered the ball putting the Knights at midfield after a 5-yard return.
Kings orchestrated a 10-play drive with Warye barreling into the end zone from four yards outs giving the Knights a 26-21 lead.
The Knights took their chances and went for the two-point conversion and Ernest connected with Chris Gant to give Kings a 28-21 lead.
Kings controlled the ball for nearly 10 minutes in the fourth quarter and the defense held Edgewood to only 22 yards of offense in the final period to secure the win.
Kings netted 274 yards on the ground and 364 yards of total offense in the game.
“We were hoping these guys would grow up and mature. The first two scrimmages – we played tough at times but faltered in spots,” Kings head coach Andy Olds said. “Tonight we had to play tough and we played tough.”
Edgewood collected 221 yards paced by Marcum, who was 8-of-15 passing for 144 yards and a TD.
Receiver Xavier Fugate had five catches for 65 yards.
“We didn’t play Edgewood football,” said Cougars head coach Steve Channel. “As staff we’ve got to go back and figure out why we’re not playing the type of football our kids are capable of playing. We’ve got a lot of work to do”
This was the first meeting between Kings and Edgewood since 2003 when the Cougars topped the Knights 33-6 in the Division II regional finals. Edgewood finished state runner-up that season.
Knight in Shining Armor
Olds is entering his tenth season as head football coach of the Knights and has compiled a record of 76-15 with Thursday’s win.