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WIAA 1A football championship preview: Royal aiming to extend dominant title-winning history

Three-time defending state champion Knights going for 12th title in school history, but has 1A Northeast champion Lakeside of Nine Mile Falls in its path

Editor's note: This Class 1A preview package was written up by SBLive WA staff for the WIAA state program. Game predictions made by reporters Todd Milles, Hailey Palmer and Tri-Cities-based Evans Rankings' founder Matt Evans.


This all-eastern Washington Class 1A matchup shows off the ultimate dichotomy in championship experience.

Top-ranked Royal has won six of the past seven state championships - and 10 titles total since coach Wiley Allred took over in 1999. The Knights have 11 WIAA titles overall.

On the other sideline will be Lakeside of Nine Mile Falls, which had never even been to a state semifinal until this fall. It defeated Nooksack Valley on Saturday in the final four in Spokane.

“We were pretty pumped last night,” Lakeside of Nine Mile Falls coach Devin Bauer said. “But it’s a short turnaround with the game on Friday, (plus) the travel. It’s kind of been a whirlwind.”

The whirlwind is more like a comfortable embrace for the Knights, who make their fourth consecutive trip across the mountains for a WIAA title game, though Husky Stadium is a vastly different venue from the high school stadiums they won in during their current state winning streak.

What hasn’t changed at Royal is its perennial defensive dominance. The Knights have allowed only seven touchdowns all season, and have yet to give up a single point in four postseason victories.

“It’s not just this season, it’s every season,” Bauer said. “It’s tough to get them to make a mistake.”

The Knights combine that defense with an offensive attack led by dual-threat quarterback Lance Allred. The return of junior running back Ethan Ellis from an early-season high ankle sprain gives the Knights another weapon.

"(Ellis) was going to be our main guy, was for Toppenish and Othello,” Royal coach Wiley Allred said. “Then, he had to take 10 weeks off.”

For the Eagles, seniors Calvin Mikkelsen at quarterback and Hiro Patterson at running back have powered the offense. Oz Melzer doesn’t score many points, but is the defensive anchor on the line with 66 tackles.



2023 Washington high school football, Class 1A quarterfinals: Freeman at Lakeside of Nine Mile Falls


3 p.m. Friday at Husky Stadium, Seattle

Coaches: Devin Bauer is in his seventh season at Lakeside of Nine Mile Falls (48-21 record). Wiley Allred is in his 25th season at Royal (286-28 record).

WIAA championship history: Lakeside of Nine Mile Falls is making its first appearance in a state title game. Royal won the Class 1A title in 1996, 2000, 2004-2005, 2007, 2015-2017, 2019, 2021-22.

Road to 2023 Gridiron Classic: Second-seeded Lakeside defeated No. 15 Life Christian in the first round (41-14), No. 10 Freeman in the quarterfinals (24-20) and No. 6 Nooksack Valley in the semifinals (24-23 in OT). Top-seeded Royal defeated No. 16 Eatonville in the first round (50-0), No. 9 Omak in the quarterfinals (49-0) and No. 12 Seton Catholic in the semifinals (42-0).

Statistical leaders: For Lakeside of Nine Mile Falls – QB Calvin Mikkelsen (92-172, 1,619 yards, 20 TDs; 111 carries, 477 yards, nine TDs), RB Hiro Patterson (77 carries, 569 yards, four TDs; 48 catches, 957 yards, nine TDs), WR Luke Pedersen (25 catches, 422 yards, eight TDs) and LB Hiro Patterson (68 tackles, three TFL, six INTs). For Royal – QB Lance Allred (151-224, 2,783 yards, 32 TDs; 108 carries, 675 yards, 17 TDs), RB Jared Lee (66 carries, 379 yards, 12 TDs), WR Case Christensen (47 catches, 1,041 yards, 16 TDs), WR Jackson Larsen (40 catches, 683 yards, seven TDs) and LB Jared Lee (101 tackles, INT).

Palmer's pick: Royal, 38-20.

Milles' pick: Royal, 33-12.

Evans' pick: Royal, 42-14.