CHARLOTTESVILLE — Friday night’s football game for Eastern Hancock might’ve been a rivalry game with a trophy on the line, but more importantly, it was a chance for the Royals to bounce back after a pair of tough losses.
After starting the year 2-0, the Royals dropped their Week 3 game on a failed conversion with no time on the clock, and last week they lost by one score late in the fourth quarter.
At home on Friday, they made sure it wouldn’t come down to the final quarter, beating rival Knightstown 45-13 to retain the Plowshare and Anvil trophy for the fourth straight meeting between the two teams.
“A rivalry win is always a special thing,” Eastern Hancock head coach Pat Echeverria said. “I came from DePauw, so I love symbols and a rivalry between two schools that are close together.”
In the opening half, the Royals put up 32 points on 15 plays.
Scoring drives of four, five, and three plays that all started past or near midfield, along with a school-record 90-yard punt return by Cameron Volz fueled the big halftime lead.
The opening drive for Eastern Hancock started at the 47 after a big Volz return, and quarterback Elijah Edon and the offense capitalized quickly.
A 28-yard Mark Kube run set up the score, and he then punched it in himself from three yards out.
Following a quick Knightstown punt, the Royals started at the 41, and after a few plays Edon scrambled for a 35-yard touchdown.
The next Eastern Hancock scoring drive started at the Knightstown 34 following another long kick return. This time it took three plays before Edon flipped a toss forward to Dylan Bowman for the 8-yard touchdown.
The Volz punt return put the exclamation point on the opening half for the Royals.
“We had a rough couple of weeks on special teams, so that was a big point of emphasis for us,” Echeverria said. “We wanted to make sure that all three phases were clicking because when we play some really, really good teams, we’re going to need all three to be on.”
Defensively, the Royals were able to limit the Wishbone-style offense brought over to Knightstown by former Greenfield-Central assistant coach Trent Taylor.
The Panthers ran the ball 42 times, while only attempting three passes.
Their two scores came on those few pass attempts.
In the second quarter, off of a play action that fooled the Eastern Hancock defense, quarterback Bryor Carmichael hit Braxton Carmichael for a 4-yard touchdown on their first pass attempt of the game.
With time winding down in the fourth quarter, the pair connected again for a 75-yard score.
On the ground though, the Royals limited the Panthers to, unofficially, 109 yards on 42 attempts.
“We need to work on getting off the ball a bit more. We’re going to see some teams that run a similar offense, so we have to be a little bit more physical up front,” Echeverria said. “But, it kind of looked like a rugby scrum out there, so you just have to be physical and move the line back. It was good preparation for us, and we’ll learn from it and get better.”
In the second half, Edon and Bowman connected again on a 21-yard score, and Dom Shelby ran in a 3-yard touchdown to cap off the Royals offensive barrage.
“You always have to figure out how they’re going to adjust to us and once we figured that out, we just went into attack mode. That’s what we do on offense,” Echeverria said. “We try to find soft points in the defense, and the kids did a great job at executing that.”
On the night, Edon completed six of his eight pass attempts for 73 yards and three touchdowns.
Bowman hauled in five passes for 53 yards and two scores to lead the Royals through the air.
Kube and Edon led the charge on the ground. Kube finished with 51 yards and one touchdown, while Edon added 56 yards and a score.
The Royals travel to Milan next Friday with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.
Eastern Hancock 45, Knightstown 13
Knightstown (2-3);0;6;0;7; — 13
Eastern Hancock (3-2);16;16;7;6; — 45
EH – Mark Kube 3 run (Dylan Bowman run), 10:39
EH – Elijah Edon 35 run (Bowman run), 5:00
K – Braxton Carmichael 4 pass from Bryor Carmichael (kick blocked), 7:49
EH – Bowman 8 pass from Edon (Bowman run), 6:25
EH – Cameron Volz 90 punt return (Caiden Willis pass from Edon), 1:11
EH – Bowman 21 Pass from Edon (Pablo Del Saz Morales kick), :14
EH – Dom Shelby 3 run (kick failed), 3:32
K – Braxton Carmichael 75 pass from Bryor Carmichael (Andrew Buchanon kick), 1:05