Royals season ends with big loss to Crusaders

INDIANAPOLIS — It was a bittersweet ending for the Class 2A Eastern Hancock Royals football team. In the Sectional 37 semifinals, the Royals fell to No. 2 Indianapolis Scecina Memorial 41-7. But the team finished with a winning record for the fourth time in five seasons.

“Momma said there would be days like this,” Royals coach Jim O’Hara said afterwards on a bitterly cold night.

The Royals prepared intensely for the challenge of facing the powerhouse Crusaders, but Scecina came out on the attack and put the game away in the first half. Scecina possessed the ball six times in the first half and scored six touchdowns to build up a 41-0 halftime lead.

The star of the game was Crusaders receiver David Baker, who had three catches for three touchdowns and 113 total yards, all in the first quarter. The Crusaders scored two touchdowns before the Royals even had possession of the ball, as the Crusader’s kickoff following their first touchdown was squibbed and recovered by Scecina.

Seniors Jarett Lewis and AJ Muegge were able to move the ball in the second half. Muegge finished the game with 24 rushing yards and 97 receiving yards. Lewis finished the game with 152 passing yards, including a perfectly arched throw to the back of the end zone to receiver Blayze Sarber for the Royals’ only score of the game in the third quarter.

“Our guys have had a great year,” O’Hara said. “We finished with a winning record, we won some tough games that were down to the wire against good teams, and we competed hard.”

The group of seniors graduating from this year’s team is a special one for O’Hara, as they were freshmen when he took over the job in 2014.

“I’ve been with these guys for four years, and they’re a great group of kids,” O’Hara said. “I hate to see them go out this way, but in my opinion, we lost to the 2A state champions tonight.”