By Mark Pinto
KINGS MILLS, Ohio – Kings defeated Glen Este, 35-17, on an emotional but also celebratory Friday at Kings Stadium that helped the Knights move closer to a Division II playoff berth.
This game was important to both schools as their playoff lives were on the line. The winner would most likely secure a playoff spot, while the losing team would have an uphill battle going into the final week of the regular season.
“This was the biggest game for our team psychology, emotionally, everything since the game against Trotwood-Madison in 2011, which we lost after being up 20-0 and it was pretty much the state championship,” said Kings senior quarterback Ryan Maguire.
It did not take long for the Kings offense to start clicking. On the third play, Maguire found fellow senior wide receiver Alex Thomas on a 77-yard touchdown to open the scoring.
Glen Este was able to cut the deficit on a field goal by junior kicker Sam Rowe late in the first quarter to make it 7-3, but Kings answered on its next possession with a six-play, 62-yard drive that ended with another Maguire touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Jamison Williams, making it 14-3.
The Trojans continued to fight, and they scored on their next possession to make it 14-10 on senior running back Jordan Harris’ 6-yard touchdown run. The Trojans’ defense forced Kings to punt on its next two possessions to keep the score 14-10 at halftime.
On the opening drive of the second half, Harris continued to carry the offense. On the sixth play, Harris caught a 47 yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Tyler Pilcher to give Glen Este the lead, 17-14.
Harris finished the game with 159 total yards, including 86 rushing yards, and two touchdowns.
But the Kings’ balanced offense was just too much for the Glen Este defense in the second half.
Kings answered the Trojans scoring drive with one of its own. Knights junior running back DeAndre Barrett scored on a 35-yard touchdown run on a five play, 68-yard drive that lasted just a minute and a half.
Barrett rushed for 151 yards, which 123 yards came in the second half.
“It took me a minute to feel the game and do what I do best, which is hit the holes and gain positive yards,” Barrett said.
On the next possession, Glen Este drove the ball to the Kings 10 yard line but a goal-line stand forced Glen Este to settle for a field goal attempt, which hit the upright and bounced out.
“Defense played real well and had some great defense stops tonight,” Kings head coach Andy Olds said. “I think the field goal hitting the upright got the juices flowing.”
The Knights continued to capitalize on big plays, as on the next possession Maguire found another senior wide receiver Ray Brewster on a 66-yard touchdown pass to push the lead to 28-17.
Glen Este drove down the field on its next possession in hopes of making it a one-score game, but Kings junior linebacker Kyle Handorf sacked Pilcher on the Kings 18 yard line.
Seven plays later, Barrett scored his second touchdown of the night and help give the seniors a win in their last regular season home game.
Maguire was 8-for-16 for 216 yards and three touchdowns as Kings beat Glen Este for the fourth straight time. Maguire has thrown for 1,238 yards and 11 touchdowns, including five passing touchdowns in his first full season as the Knights starting quarterback.
“Ryan started a couple games last season and was not quite ready, but he had an unbelievable off-season starting in January, working hard and he has earned everything he has gotten.” Olds said. “I am extremely proud of Ryan (Maguire).”
Kings will look to win its seventh game of the season as the Knights visit Anderson next week, and Glen Este looks to keep its playoff hopes alive when the Trojans play at Winton Woods.