INDIANAPOLIS — Pat Echeverria has said it so many times, he admits he sounds “like a broken record.”
But, the mantra Echeverria has repeated to his Eastern Hancock football team all season — and that he noted again Friday evening — is undeniable: “The team that makes the fewest mistakes and plays the most physical game is going to win.”
The Royals came up short on both of those counts against Class A No. 7 Scecina Friday, and the Crusaders claimed a 35-19 Sectional 37 championship at the University of Indianapolis.
Scecina (9-3) — last year’s state finals runner-up to Lafayette Central Catholic — began its first two drives inside the Royals’ 30-yard line thanks to a fumbled kickoff return and a partially blocked punt.
The Crusaders scored touchdowns on both of the ensuing possessions to build a 14-0 lead and, although Eastern Hancock (6-6) never stopped competing, the hole proved to be too deep.
“We made a couple mistakes early, but we bounced back,” said Echeverria, the Royals’ second-year head coach. “I’m proud of the kids’ effort.”
Scecina advanced to the one-game regional championship to face No. 6 North Vermillion (12-0). The Crusaders didn’t cement a second-straight sectional title until the end of the third quarter Friday.