Needing to win out its remaining three games for a potential playoff spot, the Larkin football team came out firing against Upstate Eight Conference crossover foe Bartlett.
However, the Hawks offense and Aaron Everson couldn't be slowed down for too long as Bartlett spoiled Larkin's senior night with a 24-7 victory Friday at Memorial Field.
The Royals (2-5) grabbed some momentum early in the second quarter as Kory Plate sacked Bartlett (5-2) quarterback Jordan Flint forcing a fumble which Giovanni Avila recovered at the Hawks' 7-yard line.
"I had outside contain and the opportunity presented itself," Plate said. "I went for it and got the sack."
Two plays later, Larkin tied the game at 7-7 after a 5-yard touchdown run by Maurece Herrion-Jackson with 10:17 left in the first half.
That momentum didn't last long as Everson returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards to the end zone to give the Hawks the lead for good at 14-7.
Everson rushed for 246 yards on 27 carries including Bartlett's other 2 touchdowns on a 7-yard run in the first quarter and a 73-yard run late in the fourth. But the Hawks' offense, which gained 291 total yards, was held to just 102 yards in the first half.
"The whole field, conditions were bad and muddy," Everson said. "It was a battle out there. Larkin played tough."
Everson also threw a 13-yard pass to Chris Kantzavelos on a halfback option which kept a drive alive allowing Steve Hrbacek to eventually kick a 30-yard field goal to give the Hawks a 17-7 lead with 6:51 left in the game.
Both teams had four fumbles, one lost by each, and the Hawks' defense forced 3 turnovers including interceptions from Kyle Garcia and Nick Andreucetti.
"It wasn't pretty, but I tell you Larkin came out ready to play," said Bartlett coach Tom Meaney. "Our kids batted and fought hard, and I'm proud of the effort."
Larkin's offense was held to 127 total yards led by Damion Clemons who rushed for 51 yards on 11 carries.
"For our seniors, it was their last game on this field, and they gave it everything," Royals' coach Mike Scianna said. "Great players make great plays, and we made some great plays on defense tonight. We'll make some goals for the final two weeks, and we'll give them (heck)."