Brannon Barry got the St. Charles East football team going Friday night by returning the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown.
The Saints never looked back.
STC East clinched a playoff berth by earning its sixth victory with a 55-12 win over Larkin at Memorial Field.
"They knew what was at stake. We knew we weren't guaranteed anything even though we had five (wins)," Saints coach Mike Fields said. "I thought our kids came out and played hard right from the beginning."
Five wins likely would have been enough to get the Saints (6-3, 4-2) into the postseason for the second consecutive season. But East wanted to be sure and it quickly erased any doubts.
After Barry's return touchdown, Roback Scott intercepted Larkin quarterback Kemmerin Blalark, setting up the Saints at their own 48. Four plays later, Jimmy Mitchell hit Mitch Munroe for an 8-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 9:12 remaining in the first quarter.
STC East score on six of its eight first-half possessions to take a 48-12 lead at halftime. Mitchel threw 3 first-half touchdowns. Erik Anderson had touchdown runs of 13 and 46 yards and had 127 yards on 9 carries at halftime.
"Erik Anderson, I thought, played a great game," Fields said. "He really wants to finish off his career on a positive note."
Mitchell also hit Anderson for a 38-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
The Royals (3-6, 2-4) tried to stay within striking distance early. Blalark hit Damion Clemons for a 29-yard touchdown with 4:14 remaining in the first quarter to cut the Saints' lead to 14-6. Jarelle Shipp added a 20-yard touchdown run, but the 2-point conversion failed, with 9:09 remaining in the first half to make it 28-12.
"They jumped on us (by) 14. We got shocked right away," said Larkin coach Mike Scianna, who is stepping down after four seasons with the Royals. "Hats off to them. I hope they do well in the playoffs."
Anderson finished with 135 yards on 11 carries and had 3 receptions for 105 yards. Barry had 8 catches for 115 yards. Mitchell was 15 of 20 for 269 yards and 4 touchdowns as the Saints piled up 531 yards of offense.