The FOX19 Friday Prep Rally made its season debut at Kings High School on Friday night as the Kings Knights avenged last year's lopsided opening-game loss by defeating the Lebanon Warriors 34-21.
It was just a year ago that the Knights fell to the Warriors 45-17. It set the tone for a down season at Kings (1-0). This time around it was a different story.
"All year we have a board up that says 45-17," senior safety Spencer Rosecrans said. "We were working on getting back to this game all offseason long."
Lebanon (0-1) threatened, but came up in short in their opening drive before Kings got on the board first behind a 2-yard Jamire Westbrook rushing touchdown.
The Warriors answered right back Luke Morgan connected with Nick Esposito on 13-yard scoring strike to knot the game at 7-7.
Kings' Nick Collado scored the game's third touchdown in less than minutes when he returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown to give the Knights a 14-7 edge after one quarter of play.
Dyllon Miles tied the score at 14-14 when he ran for a 10-yard touchdown with 9:59 to go in the first half. That is where the game stood going into the locker room.
Following intermission, Kings' defense would buckle down and Westbrook would take over.
"The second half our defense stopped them on every drive except one," Rosecrans claimed. "We nearly pitched a shutout in the second half. We knew we had to do it because it was a tied game at halftime."
Good defense, coupled with a power rushing attack would lead the Knights to victory. Westbrook, an Honorable Mention Preseason All-TriStateFooball.com honoree at running back, would score three more touchdowns to put the game away.
"We talked about it at halftime we knew that we could play better," Kings' head coach Andy Olds said. We challenged our kids at halftime we need to come out and establish the run."
Lebanon scored late in the fourth quarter as Brody Wolf pulled in a 20-yard pass from Morgan, but it would not be enough.
Westbrook led all players with 170 yards on 27 carries and three touchdowns on the ground while adding a 41-yard TD catch from Jensen Gebhardt.
Kings' starting quarterback Jonny Brewster completed 8-of-10 passes for 89 yards. Junior wide receiver Nick Bird caught five balls for 56 yards. The defense came up with three sacks and a fumble recovery in the win.
The win will go a long way towards providing confidence for an experienced, but young Knights' team.
"We are still young. Everyone is a year older," Olds added. "Eighteen starters coming back sounds great, but only three of those guys are seniors and five them were freshmen so we still have a lot of room for improvement."
Miles was impressive on the ground in the loss, finishing with 169 yards on 25 carries. Wide receiver Brody Wolf caught nine balls for 157 yards and a score in the defeat. Morgan went 14-of-26 for 157 yards and two passing touchdowns.
Kings looks to make it two in a row as they play host to Milford in Week 2. Lebanon welcomes Loveland in their home opener.
--Kings' Nick Collado 90-yard kickoff return TD
--Lebanon's Nick Esposito 13-yard TD catch
--Postgame: Andy Olds, Kings
--Gold Star Chili Star of Game: Spencer Rosecrans, Kings