CHARLOTTESVILLE — When Eastern Hancock head coach Pat Echeverria returned to the school last season, he had one goal in mind — return the Royals football program to the winning ways they experienced in his first stint with the team.

On Friday night, that goal came to fruition.

The Royals trounced Winchester 47-14 in the IHSAA Class 2A Sectional 38 championship.

The title was the Royals first since 2014, the first year after Echeverria left the program.

“It’s special. This place is special. They’ve welcomed me back with open arms, and the support in this place is amazing,” Echeverria said. “I’m so blessed and happy to be back here.”

To get the long-awaited win, the Royals were dominant on both sides of the ball.

On the night, Eastern Hancock outgained the Golden Falcons in yards 403 to 188 and scored seven touchdowns to the their two.

Of the Royals nine offensive possessions, seven went for scores. A turnover on downs in the first half, and a punt in the closing minutes were the only two times the Royals offense was denied points.

The yards and the scoring came quickly.

On the opening drive, Eastern Hancock went 52 yards in three plays. A Mark Kube 38-yard run set up quarterback Elijah Edon for a 10-yard quarterback keeper for an early 6-0 lead.

After a Winchester 3-and-out, Edon connected with Eli Manship on a 7-yard touchdown pass to put the Royals ahead by two scores just over midway through the first quarter.

Edon added one more score with his legs in the second quarter, and Mark Kube broke off a 62-yard touchdown run to put the Royals ahead 26-0 at the break.

“We thought we could get some numbers on them if they were in certain formations, and we thought we could create some seams for Mark to get downhill. He did a great job running the ball, and so did Elijah,” Echeverria said. “The game plan went as I hoped it would tonight.”

Kube exploded for 172 first-half yards and 204 total yards and two scores on the night, while Edon added 73 yards on the ground and two touchdowns.

Winchester, who had won six straight games coming into the night, had done so behind a dominant run game. Running back Aidan Weatherhead, who averaged 139 yards per game, was limited to 90 yards by the Royals defense.

In nine offensive possessions, the Falcons scored only twice, punted twice, turned the ball over on downs once, threw two interceptions, and fumbled twice.

Senior defensive back Dylan Bowman had both interceptions.

“I wasn’t sure coming in because they’re really physical and they run the football very well. They’ve been running on everybody all year,” Echeverria said. “Our defense stepped up to that task and challenge and they were amazing tonight. I’m just really proud of them.”

Weatherhead tallied two second-half scores with the game out of reach. On the opening drive of the second half, he caught a 49-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Adam Moore, and in the fourth quarter, he punched in a short touchdown run.

For the Royals, Kube ran in his second score of the night to answer Weatherford’s first touchdown, Edon hit Kayden Ruble on a 20-yard third-quarter touchdown strike, and Ethan Sipes ran in a fourth-quarter score.

Along with the two rushing touchdowns, Edon made big plays with his arm. He threw for 151 yards and two touchdowns.

“His decision-making and his poise is really starting to get to where it needs to be. That’s what you want out of your quarterback,” Echeverria said. “He’s just doing everything he needs to do. He’s protecting the ball, and has just had an amazing run over these past few weeks.”

Eastern Hancock will be on the road next Friday against Southmont in the regional championship with kickoff set for 7 p.m.

Eastern Hancock 47, Winchester 14


Eastern Hancock(8-4);13;13;14;7;—47

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter

EH – Elijah Edon 10 run (kick failed), 10:59

EH – Eli Manship 7 pass from Edon (Aaron Redmon kick), 5:12

2nd Quarter

EH – Edon 23 run (kick failed), 9:45

EH – Mark Kube 62 run (Redmon kick), 3:41

3rd Quarter

W – Aidan Weatherhead 49 pass from Adam Moore (Aubrey Weigand kick), 8:13

EH – Kube 4 run (Redmon kick), 3:28

EH – Kayden Ruble 20 pass from Edon (Redmon kick), :9

4th Quarter

W – Weatherhead 4 run (Weigand kick), 9:25

EH – Ethan Sipes 2 run (Redmon kick), 4:42