Through the years the one thing that has come to be expected when Elgin and Larkin battle for the Town Jug on the football field is to expect the unexpected.
This year's showdown was no exception on Friday night with Larkin pulling out a dramatic come-from-behind 18-14 win in yet another wild finish between the crosstown rivals at Memorial Field.
Trailing 14-12 with 1:20 left in the game Larkin got the ball backed up on its own 12-yard line. However, the Royals' fans hadn't given up as they started chanting, "It ain't over. It ain't over." They were right.
On the very next play quarterback AJ Ball heaved a pass down the far sideline that Kindrell Morris hauled in at the 50. Morris then somehow broke free from the clutches of two Maroon defenders and raced down the sideline and into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown. The Maroons drove to the Larkin 34 in the final seconds, but the game ended on two incomplete passes and a sack.
Morris was wearing jersey number 8 instead of his customary number 2 in honor of his teammate Travis Farley, who was hospitalized with blood clots in his lungs earlier in the week. Morris also had a 45-yard touchdown reception earlier in the game and rushed for 40 yards.
"This is about a lot more than just football," Morris said. "This is about my friend. I don't really care about the rivalry, or the jug, or the win right now. I just care whether my friend is going to be all right. This is all dedicated to him."
Ball completed just 3 passes all night, but he made them count with all three going for a touchdown. The Royals had fallen behind 14-0 early on until Ball connected with Max Wickerchen on a 23-yard touchdown pass over the middle to cut the deficit to 14-6. His first of two scoring strikes to Morris came with just over a minute left in the first half to make it 14-12 heading into the locker room at halftime.
Ball saved the best for last on the game-winner.
"Nomo (Morris) is a gamer," Ball said. "We have a lot of weapons to go, but at the end of the game I was looking to get it to him. I gave him a pretty nice pass but he did the rest once he got it."
The Maroons scored first on a 55-yard drive that ended with a 7-yard touchdown run by Dae'Vion Arthur. Cam Jackson Jr. then recovered his own onside kick for the Maroons to give Elgin the ball back at midfield. Seven plays later Trevon Morris scored on a 2-yard run to make it 14-0.
Arthur finished with 74 yards rushing. Trevon Morris had 73 yards on the ground. The Maroons had a 50-yard touchdown pass from Morris to Xavier Bonds called back in the third quarter on a penalty for an ineligible man downfield that proved to be crucial.
"It was another crazy game just like we expected," Larkin coach Dragon Teonic said. "We knew they were tough. When you look at some of their key players they are a lot bigger than us. But I thought we showed a lot of heart. I couldn't be happier with the result."