The HSE Freshman Football Team had their first road game of the season this past Saturday, as they traveled to North Central to take on the Panthers of the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference. This would be the Royals second MIC team they would face this season. The Royals would start the game on defense after an Eli Slibeck kickoff which went for a touchback. The Panthers would score on their first drive of the game aided by a deep pass down the sideline to set up a goal line pass and catch to start the scoring for the day in their favor 8 – 0 after the 2 point conversion. The visitors would get things going as well as they would convert on 3rd down as Ty Bradle found John McCoy across the middle to move the chains. Bradle would also find his target with Joe Karwowski twice on the drive as Clayton Wilke would pound the ball in near the goal line for the touchdown. Owen Garvin, Bradle, and Sean Gloeckner would handle the snap, hold, and kick for the PAT conversion to bring the score to 8 – 7 in favor of NC as the first quarter would come to an end.
On the ensuing drive, NC would be stymied by the defensive pressure by the Front 7 of the Royals by causing an intentional grounding penalty while Alex Boothby and Clayton Allen would team up for a crucial sack on 3rd down to force the punt. After putting together a solid drive with Wilke on the ground and Bradle in air to Grant Barton for a catch, the Panthers would intercept a pass to spoil the drive. The Royals defense would get stingy with a sack from Evan Sherrill and come up with a big tipped pass by Garvin which would allow for Patrick McGrath to swoop in for the interception in the end zone. The crucial turnover would put a halt to a potential scoring opportunity at the end of the 1st half, to keep the score at 8-7 with the Panthers on top.
The Royals would take the second half kickoff and make quick work of it as they scored on their second play of the drive as Sherrill took the handoff for a 45 yard touchdown run after making several defenders miss on his way to the end zone. Cole Earlewine would run in untouched to complete the 2 point conversion. The Royals took the lead 15 – 8. Slibeck would add another touchback to his credit on the kickoff. Quinn Skulski, Dominic Burgett, and Boothby would group up for a sack on the quarterback read as the Royals would force the punt to get the ball back to the offense. Earlwine would find Wilke for the 30 yard touchdown pass just a few plays later. Garvin, Bradle, and Gloeckner executed the snap, hold, and kick to increase the lead for the Royals to 22 – 8. The defense would keep up the pressure as Sherrill and Boothby would tag team a tackle for loss along with Luke Murphy and Boothby combining for another to help force the punt. Earlewine would take the quarterback keeper for 50 yards to the house for the score and the PAT was no good as the Royals were now up 28 – 8. The quarter would end with the score the same as Sherrill and Murphy would corral the Panthers ball carrier for a tackle for loss.
The 4th quarter would start with a bad snap from the Panthers on 4th and 5 resulting in Charlie Baldwin and Burgett teaming up for the sack deep in Panthers territory. Two plays later Baldwin would take the handoff through the left side for the score to push the lead to 35 – 8 after Garvin, Bradle and Gloeckner added the PAT. The Panthers would respond with a score but were unable to convert the 2 point conversion and the onside kick failed to go the necessary 10 yards resulting in a penalty. The offense would be forced to punt and the Panthers would put another scoring drive together to bring the score to 35 -22 but the ensuing onside kick would once again fail to go 10 yards resulting in a penalty and the Royals gaining possession of the ball. HSE would convert a few first downs to wind the clock down to allow for the game to end under Victory Formation with the final score 35 – 22 in favor of the visiting HSE Royals. Bradle and Earlewine would make good on passes to Karwowski for 2 catches, Wilke for 2, McCoy for 1, and Barton for 1 as well on the day.
The Royals will play host to the Avon Orioles on Monday night, October 9th at 6pm as they will begin conference play in the Hoosier Crossroads Conference.