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Washington high school football: King's edges Nooksack Valley on late field goal, 3 takeaways (9/15/2023)

Matthew Williams boots a 23-yard field goal with three minutes ago to propel No. 6 King's to a 28-26 victory over No. 1 Nooksack Valley

SEATTLE – The top-ranked Nooksack Valley Pioneers fumbled the opening kickoff of Friday’s 1A non-conference game against sixth-ranked King’s. What followed that fumble was a classic high-school football game, but still that fumble remained a sign of things to come.

The two teams traded blows throughout the three-hour long battle, but it was the Knights who would outlast the Pioneers, earning a 28-26 upset victory.

Senior quarterback Noah Clark didn’t have the most accurate night, finishing 16-for-36 for 266 yards, but seemed to deliver a big throw every time the Knights needed it. Clark had three passing touchdowns, two to sophomore Colton Adams and one to junior Jack Fuller, and one interception to lead the Knights offense. He also had a 19-yard rushing touchdown.

"He was chopping wood tonight sometimes with a dull axe, but he figured it out." King’s coach Jim Shapiro said. "When it mattered, he got it done."

Clark acknowledged the multiple incompletions, but it didn’t impact his play when it mattered most.

"The coaches always say just flush it," Clark said. "…That’s what I did and it worked out."

Here are three takeaways from the game:


King’s senior kicker Matthew Williams had a chance to give his team a lead early in the fourth quarter, but his 37-yard field goal attempt was a line drive that went wide left.

On the sidelines while warming up, one of the Knights’ assistant coaches told Williams he might get another chance.

Williams’ coach was right and this time, he couldn’t have been more perfect. Williams got a chance to give his team the lead again with just under three minutes to play with on a 23-yard attempt. He split the uprights on what ultimately proved to be the game-winner.

"I knew it wasn’t a long kick, so I just had to play it safe," Williams said. "I just had to kick it a little softer and not go for as much power. I had to trust my holder and my snapper and they delivered for me 100 percent. My line delivered. Everyone gave me a second chance. I’m just grateful I could make it."

The field goal wasn’t the only great play Williams made. Earlier in the game, he had a 71-yard punt, the longest of his career, to turn field position in his team’s favor.

"Offense and defense just does what they’re supposed to and then I come in when I need to and I just try to do my best," Williams said.


In a game that seemed to be dominated by offense, it was the Knights defense that stepped up when it was needed most.

After Williams go-ahead field goal, the Knights stopped the Pioneers on four consecutive plays to get the ball back. It appeared the defensive stand might have ended the game, but Nooksack Valley used all of its timeouts to force a punt and get the ball back.

This time, the Pioneers were able to drive down the field, but a pass to the end zone on fourth and 17 was knocked away by Adams, who had left the game earlier with a cramp, to secure the victory.

"It was pretty amazing," Shapiro said of his team’s defense late in the fourth quarter. "I don’t think that we’re known for our defense. We like to air it out and throw the ball, but to show what our guys did was pretty phenomenal to hold on defensively and win that game."


The Pioneers didn’t become the No. 1-ranked team in the state by making a lot of mistakes, which is what made what happened Friday all the more surprising.

Nooksack Valley had two turnovers, one on the opening kickoff and the other on an interception deep its own territory that resulted in touchdowns for the Knights.

"I’m really disappointed in how we played," Nooksack Valley coach Craig Bartl said. "We made too many mistakes, and you can’t do that against good teams."

It wasn’t just the turnovers, the Pioneers missed several tackles and dropped several passes.

"We definitely have to eliminate a lot of mistakes," Bartl said.