INDIANAPOLIS — The first season after leaving the Mid-Hoosier Conference has been up and down for the Eastern Hancock Royals. With a schedule filled with ranked teams week in and week out, their record has taken a dip from the heights of the 2015 season.
Saturday afternoon at Lucas Oil Stadium was no different, as the Royals fell to the Class A No. 8 Shenandoah 30-25 to drop to 4-4 on the year.
“You’ve gotta suffer a little bit,” Royals coach Jim O’Hara said in regards to his team’s tougher schedule. “I’m proud of our kids and of our staff, and as we clean up our mistakes going forward, I think the schedule is going to help us in the long run.”
Shenandoah used a version of the Wing-T offense to run the ball effectively on the Royals all afternoon. Senior running back Dalton Hatcher led the way for the Raiders with 33 carries for 237 yards and two touchdowns.
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“When you face an offense like that, if one player on defense makes a mistake you’re probably going to give up a big run,” O’Hara said.
Royals running back Devin Denny came close to matching Hatcher however, as he finished the game with 142 rushing yards and 114 receiving yards. Denny’s second touchdown of the day early in the second quarter brought the Royals to within 15-12 of the Raiders, but failed extra points kept the game from being tied.
“We’ve got great kids, but we need to be able to put it all together,” Royals coach Jim O’Hara said afterward. “When you play good teams like this, little things like extra points make a big difference.”
Shenandoah built a 30-12 lead in the second half, and the Royals made it interesting late in the fourth quarter with two quick touchdowns. However, an onside kick attempt and the victory was secured by the Raiders with 58 seconds remaining.
A Royals’ win was realized inside Lucas Oil Stadium, however.
During an untimed down, Eastern Hancock special needs student Michael Rumler was able to get on the field where his idols, the Indianapolis Colts, play.
Royals quarterback Jarett Lewis handed off to Rumler, who rushed the ball 50 yards to the end zone and was mobbed by players from both teams in celebration. Rumler, after scoring, relished the applause from the crowd as he raised his arms triumphantly on the sideline.
“We’ve adopted Michael all year, and to see him be able to have that moment was pretty special, and we knew today’s location was the place to do it,” O’Hara said.
Shenandoah 30, Eastern Hancock 25
SHS – Dowden 1-yard run (2 pt. pass), 10:11.
EH – Denny 1-yard run (2 pt. failed), 8:08.
SHS – Hatcher 6-yard run (Dowden kick), 4:30.
EH – Denny 1-yard run (2 pt. failed), 11:23.
SHS – Resler 10-yard run (2 pt. pass), 0:37.
SHS – Hatcher 7-yard run (Kick good), 5:47.
EH – Cochard 6-yard catch from Lewis (Kick failed), 5:34.
EH – Lewis 3-yard run (Muegge kick), 0:58.