Due to a rather odd home schedule for Streamwood this season, Friday night's Upstate Eight Conference River Division matchup against Larkin was actually senior night despite the Sabres not having their homecoming game until the end of October.
Streamwood took the ball first but turned it over quickly. The Larkin secondary picked off an errant pass and then returned it deep into the Streamwood red zone. That set up Damion Clemons for a 1-yard dive into the end zone for the first score of the game and Larkin was on its way to a 27-21 win.
Larkin again forced a turnover on the next Streamwood possession, this time by blocking a punt to set up field position at the Streamwood 27. Staring down a 6-point deficit with seven minutes left in the first quarter, Streamwood knew it needed a stop. That stop came on fourth-and-8 from the Sabre 25 when Larkin quarterback Kemmerin Blalark had what looked to be a sure touchdown pass knocked away by Sabre sophomore call up Tae Reetz.
"We've been very happy with the way our sophomores have played," said Sabres coach Mark Orszula
After the turnover on downs the Sabres' offense survived 20 yards of penalties including an unsportsmanlike call that negated a 55- yard pass from Mason Polich to Kevin Drawl. The Sabres converted two third-and-longs on the drive that was capped off by an 11-yard touchdown pass from Mason Polich to his younger brother Noah. After the PAT, Streamwood went up 7-6.
The Royals (3-2, 2-1) got back on offense and proved that two can play at that game, taking almost seven minutes off the clock and finishing with another 1-yard TD run by Clemons.
"We were really worried about them running up the middle. They had a good game plan and the chemistry between the brothers (Mason and Noah Polich) really showed," said Larkin coach Mike Scianna "But Bubba (Clemons) had a great game."
Larkin opened the second half chewing 6:10 off the clock before punting the ball back to the Sabres. The Sabres marched consistently down the field to the Larkin 32 before a miscue in the backfield caused a fumble between Mason Polich and LJ Brown. After Larkin took over, the Royals drove to the Streamwood 30 and faced a big fourth-and-4. Larkin came out in a four-wide set and rolled Blalark out to his right and found the soft spot in the cover two for a gain of 15. Clemons again hit pay dirt from 7 yards out and added the 2-point conversion to put Larkin up 20-7.
After the Larkin score, Mason Polich returned the ensuing kickoff 45 yards and drove the Sabres down to the Royal 6. From there, Polich found junior Cole Seeger after stepping up in the pocket avoiding the rush for a 6-yard touchdown pass.
The Streamwood defense held tough, forcing a Larkin turnover on downs at Larkin's 48. After driving to the Larkin 12, Polich got picked off in the end zone by Aaron Campbell. The Sabres (0-5, 0-3) then pinned the Royals into a third-and-8 from the Larkin 4 when Blalark found Clemons for a huge conversion. The Royals then called on Clemons to salt the game away on the ground. Clemons added a big run of 47 yards and another touchdown of 7 yards.
The Sabres tried to make it interesting late adding a 1-yard quarterback sneak for a touchdown. However, with only 50 seconds left in the game Larkin recovered the onside kick and sealed the victory.
Clemons finished up the game for the Royals with 172 yards on 27 carries and 4 touchdowns. For the Sabres, Mason Polich was 19 of 25 for 203 yards, 2 TDs and 3 interceptions He added 33 yards, a TD and a fumble on 9 carries.