Grit City Knights dethrone Everett Royals in an Epic Battle 18-13
Grit City’s Cason Watson and two-time Superbowl champion and former NFL wide receiver Torrey Smith share the same birthday. However, the pair may now share another thing in common after Waton's big day on Saturday helped lift the Knights (1-2) to a 18-13 win over the Everett Royals (0-3): their explosive straight-line speed! Watson had over 100 yards receiving and scored his second TD of the season as the Knights scored early and never trailed until the final minutes of the game.
Of course, the storyline of this game revolved less around the play of the two starting QBs and more around their exits. For Rodney Raines, an upper leg injury ended his game early and he was unable to return, derailing the hopes the Royals had that he could lead their team to victory.
For the Knights, Bryce Williams threw for over 120 yards and one touchdown in the first quarter before going down with a foot injury and missing the rest of the first half. He was able to hobble his way back onto the field and complete a few passes but was ultimately too ineffective to stay in the game. In his stead, Cason Watson and Ezekiel Reynolds saw playing time at QB before Reynolds was brought back in to help bring the Knights back from the brink after a Royals Kicker, Wyatt Paul, hit the go-ahead field goal to give the Royals a 13-12 lead in the final minutes.
Knights QB Ezekiel Reynolds completed three passes on the game-winning drive, including a deep strike to P-nut Harris that got the Knights within scoring range. Reynolds capped off the drive with two scrambles and a touchdown run that featured him breaking three tackles as he stretched the ball across the goal line for the score.
It was much needed team win for the Knights. Along those lines, QB Bryce Williams was effusive in his praise for the Knights' Offense.
“We were down some key pieces, but players stepped up, filled in, and did a great job. Muddy (Dayjon Brooks) and JJ (Jon Jun) made some big blocks. Our veteran O-linemen that were able to make it really stepped up in the clutch and we had defensive players like Emmanuel Thompkins and Niko (Willie Coney) and Rod (Pace) and Bolo (Lanez) and others step up to help on the line, too,” Bryce said. “And with all that help, we were able to get our talented stable of wide receivers the touches they needed to be successful and help us grind out a win. It was a full team effort.”
Grit City's coach Will Conrad earned his 1st regular-season win as Head Coach of the Knights one week after the Knights (1-2) lost to the Warriors (2-1) in a disappointing showing. The win was a great way to wipe the bad taste of last game out of everyone's mouth and the players and coaching staff enjoyed being able to claim victory after the final whistle. Coach Craig Mulligan and Assistant Head Coach Quinn Smith were also seen smiling after the game. Coach Conrad and the rest of his staff certainly have high expectations for the team going forward.
“Celebrate this win fellas but don't be satisfied with it," Knights RB coach and defensive assistant Allen Price reminded the team. "There is still a lot of [work] for [us] to put in. Mistake we have got to clean up. But let's keep building."
Not to be lost in the mix, the Knights defense looked much more like the team we saw in their home opener on June 4th. LB Brice Philippus in particular showed up and made a major impact on the game, making big hits, flying to the ball, and taking a fumble back for a touchdown. Without his contribution, the Knights final scoring drive of the game might have been for not.
Of course, the defense also had clutch performances from several key contributors including Emmanuel Thompkins (who played both sides of the ball), Eddie Brazier, and more. However, even with their strong defensive showing, the Royals weren't truly out of the game until the final moments.
Sending pressure with just under a minute to go, Emmanuel Thompkins found his way to Royals QB Terrence Allen for the sack. By itself it would have been a big momentum play for the Knights but savvy veteran Eddie Brazier was also close by and manage to swipe at the exposed football as Allen was going down. The result was a fumble recovery for Knights DE Jerro "JD" Da Graca and the Knights were able to kneel out the game and trout off the field with a win.
While the Knights will certainly celebrate their first win in franchise history, they won't have very much time to do so. They return to Stadium High School next Saturday to play the undefeated Rebels who were ranked 4th in the nation before annihilating the 6th ranked Tacoma Sabers by a score of 46-8. If they don't want to suffer the same fate as the Sabers, Grit City definitely has their work cut out for them this week at practice.