West Aurora handles Larkin
West Aurora's defense wasted no time asserting itself in the 2018 season.
The Blackhawks forced turnovers on 3 of Larkin's first 7 plays from scrimmage. The Blackhawks turned them all into touchdowns, setting the tone early for a 55-6 win in the season and Upstate Eight opener for both teams.
Zach Jacobson had 2 of the Blackhawks' 3 picks, returning one for a score, William Tammaru threw for 111 yards-all in the first half-and a touchdown, and Hezekiah Salter ran for 2 scores for West Aurora.
The "D" set the tone early, picking off 3 of Larkin's first 4 pass attempts.
"I really think the defense is going to be our strength this year," said Blackhawks coach Nate Eimer. "We've got a lot of kids who fly around, really do a great job with our scheme, and I think tonight the really cool thing was how everybody rallied to the football. You could see on Zach's pick, that was a heck of a pick, and you could see all the guys out front leading him. That's what was really cool about that."
Larkin's first play from scrimmage resulted in an interception by Rhadarious Lomax. Three plays later, Salter cashed it in from 20 yards out. Two plays later, Jacobson got the pick-6, and West Aurora led 13-0 less than 2 minutes into the game.
The Blackhawks stretched the lead to 28-0 after 1 quarter and coasted from there. Fullback Trevon Tittle ran for 106 yards and a score. Lomax, Matthew Johnson, Antwone Rayford and Antonio Rayford, Jr., also scored for West Aurora.
The Royals began to find their footing near the end of the first half. A pair of interceptions by Kaydon Donald ended West Aurora drives. The Royals finally got on the scoreboard when new quarterback Jaxon Aubry raced 20 yards around the left side.
"It was just mental mistakes," said first-year Larkin coach Zeus Gonzalez of the Royals' early struggles. "We hurt ourselves with penalties, high snaps. These were mistakes that we hurt ourselves with. We're still trying to mesh on offense. We'll come together."
Aubry completed 5 of 17 tries for 35 yards, but was sacked 5 times.
The Blackhawks hurt themselves with 110 penalty yards and had 3 touchdowns called back.