ROYAL CITY — Could just be my humble opinion, but if Royal quarterback Sawyer Jenks keeps on keepin’ on the way he is at the helm of the Knights’ football machine, we just might be saying ol’ Kaden what’s his name one day.
But since ol’ Kaden what’s his name lives in the same house, that’s probably not going to happen.
Kaden Jenks led the Knights to back-to-back 1A state championships his junior and senior seasons, helping Royal to 27 of its current 37-game winning streak. With Friday’s 48-7 victory over La Salle in the District 5 1A SCAC Crossover, Royal moved into a tie for seventh among the nation’s active win streaks with Calendonia (Minn.), Damascus (Md.) and Wise (Upper Marlboro, Md.) at 37 wins without a loss.
They don’t talk about three-peat in Royal City. They tell me they’re just trying to win another state championship. But I do think it’s high time we talk about the next Jenks up in the grand scheme of Knights football, so I called Kaden in Ogden, Utah, where he’s a redshirt freshman at Weber State University.
“Sawyer’s really put in the work and gotten a lot better. You can see that everything’s paying off. Last year, he went to all the camps and did all the drills that I was doing. I’m proud of him and that he’s doing well, along with the rest of the team back home,” said Kaden, who was a four-year starter with a career record of 45-6. “I don’t know if people think me first, but he’s out there making a name for himself. I put in the hard work to be successful and have taken advantage of it. I think he’s doing the same.”
Kaden was The Associated Press 1A Player of the Year his senior season, throwing for 2,506 yards and 36 touchdowns as a senior, while rushing for 546 yards and 15 touchdowns. He had 45 touchdown passes as a junior.
But the next Jenks up has been nothing short of impressive since stepping into the starting position this season as a junior. In the final game of the regular season, Sawyer threw just seven passes … five of ‘em were for touchdowns. He has thrown five touchdown passes in four games and had a couple of four-TD nights during the regular season as well. He didn't have a scoring pass against La Salle, but heads into Round 2 with 32 touchdown passes so far.
I can imagine all the Whiffle ball games or touch football games in the backyard that turned into tackling the runner into the bushes around the Jenks house. It’s a household of love, to be sure, but it’s game-on with checkers or whatever they play on family game night, Kaden said.
So tell me something the world doesn’t know about Sawyer.
“I don’t think people know about how competitive he is or his drive to win,” Kaden said. “Growing up, that’s something that’s always been between us as two competitors. We want to beat each other at everything. We’re kind of one of those families where everything was about competition.”
The bad news for the 1A rank-and-file is that Sawyer has another season after this one, and the news gets worse … there’s more on the way.
Rodney Harwood is a sports writer at the Columbia Basin Herald and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org