After Larkin's 24-7 nonconference football win Friday at West Chicago nobody should have any doubt about how Royals' junior running back/safety Damion Clemons feels about the responsibility of carrying the ball.
"I like getting the ball," said Clemns with a confident smile on his face.
Clemons carried the ball for 181 yards on 12 carries and 2 long touchdowns. The two-way player also returned an interception for a touchdown. His three scores came on plays of 70, 66 and 65 yards respectively.
The big plays made the difference for Larkin. They were something West Chicago had hoped to limit heading into the game.
"Defensively we knew they were capable of big plays," said West Chicago coach Bill Bicker. "My hope was that they get one or two and we get one or two and we balance it out."
Unfortunately for the Wildcats (0-2), there was no balance in the big play department. The Royals (1-1) held West Chicago to 149 yards on the ground and a total 93 yards through the air.
Miguel Flores led the way for the Wildcats with 152 yards rushing on 22 carries. Flores also claimed the West Chicago's only score, a 15-yard touchdown run.
"We came out strong, our offensive line got some push," said Flores. "We just have to get it next time."
West Chicago did force Larkin into a slow start and was able to diminish any hope of establishing a passing game the Larkin side.
The Royals completed 1 pass for 9 yards on 6 attempts. They also threw 3 interceptions. The futile passing game forced Larkin to commit to the running attack.
"We know we have a running game because we have some horses up front," said Larkin coach Mike Scianna, whose team takes on crosstown rival Elgin next week. "We have to get better at the passing game if we want to compete the rest of the way out."
With the exception of Clemons' 66-yard score in the third quarter, all the scoring came in the second quarter as Larkin darted out to an 18-6 halftime lead.
Larkin senior running back Mo Jackson was responsible for the fourth Royal score. He rumbled into the end zone on first and goal from the Wildcat 3-yard line. That's where Larkin took over possession after blocking a punt on 4th-and-eight from the Wildcat 13-yard line.
West Chicago junior quarterback Jordan Lelito 13 of 33 passes for 93 yards. At two different points in the game he completed three consecutive passes. Brother Colin Lelito led all receivers with 47 yards on 6 catches.