With just a single win on the gridiron over the past two years, the Lynnwood Royals have had a bad taste in their mouth for some time. But following their 2019 season opener at Nathan Hale High School on Friday, the team is now enjoying a new taste: victory.
The Royals put together their best effort in two seasons and soundly defeated the Nathan Hale Raiders 26-14.
Coach Keauntea Bankhead credits the team’s desire to turnaround their recent losing ways for the success on the field on Friday.
“I kept telling these guys ever since we started camp (in June) the last two years we won one game – I just kept telling them 1-and-19,” Bankhead said. “And these seniors and these young guys, they know … it’s not a good feeling to go two years without winning.”
Not wanting another season with few or no wins, the team has shown plenty of motivation in practices leading up to the season opener, Bankhead said.
“I’m just proud of my guys; they put a lot of work in and I’m glad it paid off for them tonight,” he said.
Lynnwood scored touchdowns at the end of four long drives in the non-league contest against the Raiders, moving the ball offensively both on the ground and through the air. Senior Daniel Tran scored two rushing touchdowns (a 3-yard run in the second quarter and an 11-yard scamper in the fourth quarter), junior Tanner Fahey found the end zone on a 32-yard run, and senior Nate Killen threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Zack Newson to cap off the four drives.
Killen spent some time at the quarterback position as a sophomore, but was used exclusively as a receiver last year. For his senior year, Killen wanted to get back to signal calling – and let Bankhead know of that desire following the teams’ 0-10 2018 season.
“He told me ‘I’m going to be more mature this year,’” Bankhead said of Killen. “‘I’m going to be a leader and I want to lead the team to some victories this year; I want to play quarterback.’”
Killen was instrumental in all four scoring drives on Friday, completing big third down passes and scrambling for gains when the pocket broke down around him.
“The little guy can play,” Bankhead stated. “He’s a little scrappy guy (but) he’s got a big heart, he’s vocal. I just tell him to stay healthy, be safe and just play football. He’s leading these guys and he did great tonight. I’m proud to see his success.”
But it wasn’t just Killen that was responsible for the victory, Bankhead insisted. “These guys came to play today,” he said.
The Royals will go for two wins in a row (a feat not accomplished by a Lynnwood team since Oct 28/Nov. 4, 2016) when they next face the Everett Seagulls on Friday, Sept. 13, at Everett’s Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 0p.m.
Prep Football: Lynnwood at Nathan Hale, Sept. 6
Lynnwood 0 7 13 6 — 26
Nathan Hale 0 0 7 7 — 14
Second quarter scoring:
7:04 — Daniel Tran (Lynnwood) 3-yard TD run; Zayn Alrobae PAT kick
Third quarter scoring:
7:14 — Tanner Fahey (Lynnwood) 32-yard TD run; Zayn Alrobae PAT kick
1:51 — Nate Killen (Lynnwood) 30-yard TD pass to Zack Newson; Zayn Alrobae PAT no good
1:40 — Seamus Cleary (Nathan Hale) 65-yard TD pass to Tava Naputalung; Mario Merino PAT kick
Fourth quarter scoring:
10:33 — Daniel Tran (Lynnwood) 11-yard TD run; two-point conversion attempt no good
3:34 — Finn Davido (Nathan Hale) 2-yard TD run; Mario Merino PAT kick
Records: Lynnwood 0-0 in 3A Wesco League South Conference, 1-0 overall; Nathan Hale 0-0 in 3A Metro League Valley Conference, 1-0 overall
Lynnwood next game: versus Everett; Friday, Sept. 13; 7 p.m. at Everett Memorial Stadium
— By Doug Petrowski