Larkin pulls away from Elgin in 4th quarter
Larkin started the postgame homecoming fireworks early in a 52-14 victory over Elgin at Memorial Field on Friday.
The home of the traveling Town Jug trophy for the next year was still very much in doubt entering the fourth quarter with Larkin nursing a 17-14 lead.
The Royals put all debate to rest by scoring three times in a 2:38 span and 5 touchdowns in the fourth quarter to retain the Town Jug.
Larkin running back Angel Garcia rushed for 162 yards and 2 touchdowns on 9 carries and the senior caught a 30-yard screen pass for a score from quarterback Jaxon Aubry. The senior completed 11 of 19 attempts for 197 yards and 3 touchdowns, including a pair of scoring strikes to senior Jahari Stubbs.
"I think we just kept focusing. We didn't give up," Garcia said. "We knew we were a better team the whole game. We just kept focusing and gave it everything we've got."
The victory keeps the Royals' playoff hopes alive. To qualify, Larkin (4-4, 4-4) must win next week at Memorial Field against Upstate Eight Conference leader Glenbard East (8-0, 8-0).
"We are in a position to put ourselves in the playoffs next week," Larkin acting coach Jason Aubry said. "It's a huge week next week. It's a playoff game."
Larkin led the UEC contest 17-6 at halftime but Elgin (2-6, 2-6) drew within 3 points on its first possession of the second half.
The Maroons drove 65 yards in 8 plays, keyed by a 46-yard pass from Jordan West to junior Xavier Bonds, who wore No. 4 to honor teammate Brandon Bridges, a junior who missed the game with a knee injury. Bonds capped the drive with a 1-yard plunge on fourth-and-goal. Darien Jackson caught a 2-point conversion pass from West to trim the deficit to 17-14.
It was all Larkin thereafter.
The Royals responded 3 possessions later by driving 56 yards in 4 plays. Aubry connected with Stubbs on a 36-yard touchdown pass with 10:53 remaining.
The Royals scored on defense 12 seconds later. Elgin was backed up to the end zone when a high shotgun snap went over West's head. Larkin sophomore Kaydin Clark pounced on the loose ball near the end line for a touchdown and Adrian Jaramillo's extra point staked the Royals to a 31-14 advantage.
"The ball was just bouncing so I dove on it and got a touchdown," Clark said. "I was happy. It was my first touchdown on defense and my first touchdown of the year."
After Elgin turned the ball over on downs at midfield, Garcia ran for 32 yards to the 18 and Aubry capped the march with a pair of keepers, including a 6-yard touchdown run that made it 38-14 with 8:15 to play.
Elgin was limited to 219 total yards, 52 on the ground. Bonds led the way with 51 rushing yards and 5 catches for 80 yards.
"We all wanted it, but I don't think we wanted it more than them," Bonds said. "We thought we were going to be able to compete with them but they came back and scored. I mean, we got a couple of stops but we just didn't convert on the offensive side. It's been hard to convert on the offensive side all year."