Glenbard East blanks Larkin
Friday's Upstate Eight opener at Memorial Field was shaping up as a defensive battle between Larkin and visiting Glenbard East. But then everything changed in 15 seconds of clock time.
Lamar Brown made a diving catch of a deflected pass in the end zone to get Glenbard East on the scoreboard 2 seconds before halftime. Then Daniel Schager took the second half kickoff all the way to the end zone and just like that the Rams led 14-0.
Schager later ran for a score and the Rams rolled on to a 28-0 victory. Sean Banks added a late TD for Glenbard East.
Schager's long interception return set up the Rams' first score. With the Royals driving in Glenbard East territory, Schager picked off Dontrell Maxie's pass and wove through traffic into Larkin territory.
Quarterback Ben Berberich hit Alonso Perkins for 35 yards to the Royals' 12. After 2 incompletions, it looked like the Royals' defense might hold. Berberich's pass into the end zone on third down was broken up, but Brown snagged the deflection with the clock running out.
Glenbard East coach John Walters praised the Royals' effort.
"I personally thought that they played better tonight," he said. "That's just my opinion."
But considering everything it took just to get to this point, nearly 7 months after the traditional football starting date, he wasn't complaining.
"Normally, you have 25 contact days in the summer and then we have 2 weeks before the season starts," he said. "This year, we had summer camp and then we stopped. We had some fall contact days and then we stopped again. There's just not a ton of prep time."
Berberich finished 8 of 24 for 90 yards. The Rams piled up 184 yards on the ground. Nine players garnered carries, led by Dmitri Hritz with 10 for 46 yards.
The game was interrupted by an on-field fight midway through the third quarter that resulted in multiple ejections.
Jamarion Stubbs rushed for 77 yards, all in the first half, for Larkin, and came up with 2 interceptions on defense.
The Royals threatened several times, but couldn't find the end zone. A Stubbs 30-yard run set Larkin up at the Rams' 25, but the drive stalled and the Royals turned it over on downs. Schager's interception ended another promising Royal drive in the second quarter. Larkin reached the Glenbard East 30 early in the fourth quarter, but fumbled.