By Laura Amato
The Christ the King football team made a promise to themselves this season—the Royals were going to finish what they started.
The squad did just that last Friday night, staging one of the most dramatic finishes in program history with a 17-13 victory over Poly Prep.
Christ the King’s defense held strong at the one-yard line, keeping the Blue Devils quarterback Robert Deleon-Kollmer out of the end zone on the final play of the game and, somehow, finding a way to finish.
It may have been dramatic and exciting, but the most important thing was that it was a big-time victory. As the Royals (2-0) walked off the field, that was the only thing they cared about.
“That’s a great win for the program and for Christ the King,” Royals coach Jason Brown said. “It shows how far we’ve come.”
It was a back-and-forth game throughout the night, chock full of big hits and even bigger emotions.
Poly Prep worked a first down with less than 30 seconds on the clock and Deleon-Kollmer chipped away at the yardage, moving the ball to within feet of the end zone and lining up for the quarterback sneak.
But when the moment arrived, the Royals kept their focus, watching and waiting for the snap and then barrelling towards the ball. It was exactly the kind of finish the team hoped for.
“We knew there wasn’t much time and this one was for the win,” senior defensive Jonathan Coste said. “We work on it in practice every day, practice our goal line. We got in there and got the stop.”
While the Royals defensive front earned the spotlight at the final whistle, Christ the King’s offense also staged its own impressive plays late in the game.
Despite two early fumbles, the Royals hit their stride down the stretch and, with just over three minutes left in the third, quarterback Demetrius Wilson rolled out of the packet, managing to stay on his feet to find Anthony Lang in stride along the sideline.
The senior receiver broke out of several tackles, twisting and turning his way down the field for a 53-yard touchdown reception. It was the difference-maker on the scoreboard.
“I just looked at it like you have to go up and get it,” said Lang, whose TD reception was his only catch of the game. “It’s whoever wanted it more, so I wanted it more that play. I wanted my team to come out with the win.”
Of course, Poly Prep was not about to go down without a fight and the Blue Devils had a handful of chances to regain the lead.
The Royals defense, however, had other things to say about that as Randy Pringle picked off Devils quarterback Rob Deleon-Kollmer on 4th-and-2 at the 16-yard line midway through the fourth quarter. Then, of course, there was that last goal-line stand.
“Our defense played a hell of a game,” Brown said. “We kept them on the field a lot. Our offense had a lot of miscues, but the defense played great.”
It’s only the second game of the season, but the Royals aren’t lacking any confidence. This was a big-time win and Christ the King is ready to make a big-time statement—this team is aiming for a title and, this year, they’re ready to finish.
“We’re just relentless. Whatever cards we’re dealt, we’re just going to deal with it,” Lang said. “We learned a lot and we’ve been grinding throughout the offseason. This chip is ours.”