Having faced Middleton once before this season, the Bishop Kelly High football team had a good idea what to expect from the Vikings the second time around.
Instead of challenging the Vikings’ stingy run defense play after play, the Knights turned to the air for a 34-14 victory in the 4A state quarterfinals Friday night at Nick Ysursa Field.
It was the 18th straight win for the three-time defending state champions, who host Blackfoot — a 35-14 winner over Lakeland — next week in the state semifinals.
“Their run defense is definitely really good,” Bishop Kelly quarterback Bronson King said. “But we watched a lot of film, and they were weak against the pass.”
King exploited that weakness, completing 8-of-11 passes for 258 yards and three touchdowns. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound senior also ran for 42 yards and two more scores to win for the sixth time in a row against the Vikings (7-4) and improve their all-time series lead to 33-7.
“We knew we had to throw the ball against them because they were so physical,” BK coach Tim Brennan said. “Bronson made some great reads. A couple of those were checks on the line of scrimmage. He’s getting better every week, and he’s got some people to throw it to, and he had some time back there.”
Senior receiver Vince Sengelmann caught five passes for 203 yards, taking advantage of one-on-one coverage for TD catches of 42 and 69 yards. Fellow senior Raoul Johnson finished with 28 receiving yards, including a 21-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter.
“We just came to play this week,” Sengelmann said.
Earlier this season, BK (10-0) defeated Middleton 20-11, but the Knights led just 7-3 at the half and by three points late in the fourth quarter.
It looked as though Friday’s quarterfinal might be a similar low-scoring affair, as both teams remained scoreless after the first quarter thanks to a Middleton drive that ate up nearly 8 minutes and ended with a fumble on fourth-and-3 on the BK 42-yard line.
The Knights translated that turnover into their first points of the game on a 1-yard quarterback sneak from Bronson 11:55 into the second quarter. It was the first of three straight touchdowns for the Knights, who led 21-0 at the half.
“They’re just excited about practicing again and playing together for one more week,” Brennan said. “We’re here, which is nice, and we’ll get after whoever it is.”