Royals cruise to easy victory

INDIANAPOLIS — The Eastern Hancock Royals traveled to Broad Ripple High School on the Northside of Indianapolis on Friday night and defeated the Rockets 55-0.

They improved their record to 3-1 on the season, but the biggest outcome of the game might have a longer-term payoff.

“We were able to play our JV the entire second half,” Royals coach Jim O’Hara said afterwards. “We had planned to do that if we had a big lead and it was great to see the young guys step in there and hold their own.”

The Royals started quickly and built a 13-0 lead less than four minutes into the game. On its opening drive the offense drove down the field and AJ Muegge sprinted in from 14 yards out for a touchdown. After the Rockets fumbled the ensuing kickoff, Luke Splater ran it in from 11 yards out and the Royals were on their way.

The Royals scored 20 points in the first quarter and 28 points in the second quarter.

The most memorable touchdown was an all-out dive of a catch by senior receiver Peyton Wilkinson to push the Royals lead to 41-0. Wilkinson finished with four catches for 93 yards and a touchdown, while also adding an interception on defense.

Royals quarterback Jarett Lewis, playing only one half, was 7 for 11, 161 yards and three touchdown passes.

The Royals defense held the Rockets off the scoreboard the entire night, mainly by forcing turnovers. The defense caught three interceptions and recovered three fumbles.

Eastern Hancock’s final touchdown came on an interception return for a touchdown by freshman Avery Wills in the fourth quarter.

“Every game is about ‘you,’” O’Hara said. “We knew what the level of competition would be tonight, but we still practiced hard every day and tried to get better.”

Broad Ripple may be closing next year, and the Royals are looking forward to adding a larger school to its schedule to replace them.

“We’re being respectful and waiting until its officially announced that they are closed to replace it on the schedule,” O’Hara said. “But we are open to playing any school of any size; it’s about the tournament and getting better through challenging ourselves.”

So, the Royals picked up a victory and avoided major injuries against an over-matched opponent on Friday night. Due to that, all engines are go towards next week’s matchup against rival Knightstown at home at 7 p.m.