Larkin had a punt blocked. McHenry recovered 2 Royal fumbles on onside kicks and the visitors from Elgin had a touchdown called back.
You get the picture.
It was a tough night at the office for the Royals.
Costly mistakes were crucial as McHenry defeated Larkin 19-7 in a nonconference game played at McHenry's McCracken Field Friday night. It was the season opener for both teams.
"They certainly out-coached us in the special teams," said Larkin coach Mike Scianna. "The pooch kicks on the kickoffs and the blocked punt really hurt us. McHenry has some speed that hurt us and they outplayed us. We need to regroup and come back next week and play better."
On its first drive of the game, Larkin was unable to post a first down. Punter Kyle Newquist dropped back to punt at his own 10-yard line. McHenry's Ethan Jones broke through the Larkin line and blocked Newquist's punt. The pigskin was recovered by Brian Frapolly at the 3-yard line.
On the first play after the blocked punt, Frapolly reached pay dirt from 3 yards out. The extra point kick was missed and the Warriors led 6-0 with only 1:39 elapsed in the game.
McHenry scored 13 unanswered points in the second quarter on a 1-yard run by Grant Watkins and a 3-yard pass from Robert Tonyan to Frapolly.
Trailing 19-0, Larkin finally got on the scoreboard with 3:29 left in the first half. Avoiding pressure, Newquist was able to scramble through the McHenry defense for 42 yards and a score. Rodrigo Tapia converted the extra point and the Royals were within 12 points, 19-7, late in the half. That was the score at intermission.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Royals had a golden opportunity to chop into the Warrior lead early in the fourth quarter.
Similar to his touchdown in the second quarter, Newquist avoided the McHenry pass rush and rambled 56 yards for a score with 10:19 left in the game. Unfortunately for Larkin the touchdown was called back because of a penalty.
"That was a tough play," said Scianna. "That score puts within a touchdown with plenty of time to play."
McHenry coach Tim Beagle was not happy with his team's play.
"We made some big plays on special teams in the first half," said Beagle. "We got off to a good start. We didn't play a very good second half. We executed poorly offensively in the second half and were very fortunate to win."