After being shaken by a tough loss the week before, the Lynnwood Royals showed some spark in their clash with the Juanita Rebels Friday at Edmonds Stadium — and that electricity powered the Royals to a victory.
Lynnwood took advantage of numerous Juanita miscues and struck for a 15-7 win in the non-league matchup.
The Rebels had nine fumbles in the game, including one that went out of the back of their end zone for a Lynnwood safety and one that was pounced on in the end zone by the Royals’ Anthony Hooker for a Lynnwood touchdown.
Lynnwood Coach Keauntea Bankhead admitted that fortune did shine on his Royals and rattled the Rebels. “The ball just bounced our way,” he said.
The Royals also took advantage of good field position when midway through the first quarter they took over on downs at the Juanita 35-yard line. They scored two plays later when Nate Killen connected with Tanner Fahey for a 35-yard touchdown reception.
While all the scoring in the contest occurred in the first quarter — a quarter that included a 90-minute suspension of play due to lightning in the vicinity of Edmonds Stadium – the game wasn’t decided until the final seconds when a last-gasp throw by Rebels’ quarterback Zubin Gupta into the end zone was tipped away from a potential receiver by Lynnwood’s Zack Newson.
When the Rebels were able to hold on to the ball, they did find some running room against the Royals’ defense. Senior running back Brayden Brown rushed for 117 yards on 19 carries but never reached paydirt in the game.
“Our defense just kept playing football,” Bankhead noted. “I told them nothing’s perfect — the game is never going to be a perfect game. So you’ve got to fight through adversity and just keep playing.”
Bankhead believes the adversity the entire team experienced in the 17-14 loss to Meadowdale on Sept. 20 helped them focus on the matchup against the Rebels.
“That game took a lot out of us,” Bankhead said of the loss to the Mavericks. “We wanted that game so bad. Meadowdale’s a good football program, but we left a few too many plays on the field last week. This week we decided to capitalize and learn from our mistakes by watching film and getting out to practice a little early.”
“These guys have been working hard, preparing all week for a game like this,” he added. “I’m just happy for these guys that their hard work paid off.”
Now 3-1 overall, the Royals have surpassed their win total of the past two seasons combined. Bankhead is using the 1-19 record the team emassed over the 2017 and 2018 seasons together to motivate them this year.
“I just tell the guys, ‘what kind of legacy do you want to leave? … Do you want to be 0-10 again or do you want to make the playoffs?’ They’re stepping up to the challenge of making the playoffs. We just need to stick to the script and try to go 1-0 each week. If we can go 1-0 each week, we’ll be in good shape.”
Prep Football: Juanita at Lynnwood, Sept. 27
Juanita 7 0 0 0 — 7
Lynnwood 15 0 0 0 — 15
First quarter scoring:
10:02 — Zubin Gupta (Juanita) 10-yard TD pass to George Suzuki; PAT kick is good
5:35 — Nate Killen (Lynnwood) 35-yard TD pass to Tanner Fahey; Zayn Alrobae PAT kick is good
4:59 — Juanita snaps ball out the back of their endzone for Lynnwood safety
2:26 — Anthony Hooker (Lynnwood) TD fumble recovery; Zayn Alrobae PAT kick is blocked
(Third quarter was shortened to eight minutes and the fourth quarter was shortened to 10 minutes due to the length of the first quarter lightning delay.)
Records: Lynnwood 1-1 in 3A Wesco League South Conference; 3-1 overall; Juanita 0-0 in 2A/3A KingCo Conference; 0-4 overall
Lynnwood next game: versus Edmonds-Woodway; Friday, Oct. 4; 5 p.m. at Edmonds Stadium
— By Doug Petrowski