CHARLOTTESVILLE — Friday was not a pretty night on Eastern Hancock’s football field, and it wasn’t just the weather, as far as the Royals were concerned.
Shenandoah and its four-pronged running attack made things more miserable for EH than the wet and cold did, and the Raiders pranced to a 31-7 win.
The momentum EH (3-5) gained off a 48-12 win at Wes-Del last week was neutralized, as Shenandoah (6-2) also seized upon missed opportunities and tackles by the Royals they could have made on dry turf.
“Those were rough conditions out there, but as I told the kids it was the same for both teams,” EH coach Pat Echeverria said. “We had some plays that we left out on the football field, but I thought we played hard and our decisions were good.”
Shenandoah scored on its opening possession as well as twice within 14 seconds in the second quarter, and that would make the Royals’ task too large.
A 1-yard run by Lane Young put the Raiders up 6-0, then Chandler Hale scampered 38 yards around a wave of Royals to pad Shenandoah’s lead at the 7:07 mark of the second quarter.
The ensuing kickoff bounced off an EH player lined on the first tier of coverage, and the Raiders fell on the loose ball and retained possession. On the very next play, quarterback quarterback T.J. Nethery ran an option 50 yards for a TD.
Nethery and Young added third-quarter scores, Nethery’s from 47 yards out.
The Raiders (6-2) ran for 333 yards, with Nethery accounting for 119 on just four carries. Hale added 97, Young 64 and Zach Vetor 53.
Largely because of the rain, Shenandoah fumbled seven times and lost three of those. Freshman Adam Campbell recovered two fumbles for the Royals.
The Royals had great opportunities the first two times they had the ball, but they couldn’t finish them. They drove to the Raiders’ 15- and 12-yard lines, but incomplete passes on fourth down gave the ball back to Shenandoah.
EH got on the board to cap off its initial drive of the second half, when Logan Splater found freshman Austin Smith open from 16 yards out. The play before, Splater connected with Cooper Henderson for 34 yards.
“I was very impressed with (Splater’s) decision making,” Echeverria said. “He threw some good balls and a couple balls slipped put of our hands or were just short, where on other nights we might complete.”
Spencer Gilbert, who last week reached the 1,000-yard mark for the second straight year, ran for 80 yards on 22 carries for the Royals.
“The kids did a good job of what we wanted to do with the game plan defensively,” Echeverria said. “I told the kids out of 50 plays we made 43 great plays and seven where we gave up the big one. We’re very close to being a great football team.”
Notes: Shenandoah used a female placekicker, Allison Crowe. She went 1-for-3 in extra points. ... EH has now dropped six straight to Shenandoah. ... The Royals finish the regular season next Friday at home against Edinburgh.