The HSE Royals Freshmen Football Team played host to fellow Hamilton County residents of Westfield High School. The Shamrocks of Westfield made the trip across the county to renew an old rivalry that dates back many years and has provided many great games throughout the years. This year would be no different as both teams would have to play things out to the wire to find a victor. The Royals would begin the game on defense after the Shamrocks took the opening kickoff to near midfield. The visitors drove the field on the ground in the air and found pay dirt on 4th and goal from inside the one with a quarterback sneak to get on the scoreboard. The PAT was no good as Charlie Baldwin would apply pressure off the edge to help alter the kick and keep the damage limited to a 6 – 0 lead, in favor of the Shamrocks. A mishandled kick return by the Royals, put them back inside their own 10 yard line and their second play from scrimmage would result in a fumble which was recovered by the Shamrocks. After getting a few defensive stops to limit the Rocks to minimal yardage, an Illegal Targeting Block would push the visitors back. The Rocks converted a 4th and 4 to score on the ground to push the score in favor of the Rocks to 13 – 0 as the first quarter would come to an end.
The Royals started the 2nd quarter in possession of the ball but were unable to convert more than a few first downs which led to an Evan Sherrill punt which pinned the Rocks back inside their own 10 yard line. The defense would finally get the big stop they were needing as Griffin Haas, Baldwin and Sherrill teamed up for a tackle in the backfield on the running back and David Nease swallowed up the quarterback for the sack to force the visitors to punt. The Royals offense would take advantage of a very short punt and began their offensive series with great field position. Cole Earlewine found Grant Barton for the catch and run to move the chains and put the ball near the goal line. Earlewine pushed his way through the middle of the offensive line for the touchdown run. Zack Wagner, Ty Bradle, and Sean Gloeckner took care of the PAT as the Royals cut into the lead, bringing the score to 13 – 7 with the Rocks on top. The defense would begin to show up with big play after big play as Nease tackle the quarterback behind the line on a run and Sherrill sacked the quarterback twice in a row to force the rocks to punt the ball away. Sherrill was not yet done on the drive as he blocked the punt and Shane Gastineau would scoop the ball up and return it to the red zone area of the Rocks. Clayton Wilke helped drive the ball on the ground which set up Earlewine finding John McCoy in the end zone with just seconds remaining in the first half. Wagner, Bradle, Gloeckner and Company made good on the PAT to allow the Royals to take the lead 14 – 13 as the first half came to a close.
The Royals Offense was on the field first to start the second half. Wilke, Sherill, and Baldwin would share the running duties along with some help as the Rocks committed a personal foul late hit penalty and a offsides penalty which would result in a continuous state of moving the chains. Bradle connected with McCoy for a short gain in the air and also threw a deep ball to Owen Garvin which resulted in a pass interference penalty by the Rocks. Haas would take the fullback dive across the goal line for the touchdown. Wagner, Bradle, Gloeckner and Company made good on the PAT to allow the Royals to boost the lead to 21 – 13. Dominic Burgett would get his revenge after a late hit personal foul penalty was committed against him earlier in the Rocks drive as he got a quarterback sack on a 3rd and long play to force the Rocks to punt. A high snap on the punt by the Rocks caused the punter to scramble out and Owen Garvin intercepted the pass to give the Royals good field position as the 3rd quarter would end with the Royals holding on to a 21 – 13 lead.
The 4th quarter would begin with the Royals moving the ball inside the red zone of the Rocks as Wilke found open running lanes to venture through. The Westfield defense would prove their worth and stop the Royals on 4th down to force a turnover on downs. The visitors would drive the ball down the field with clutch runs on 3rd and 4th down to help move the chains to eventually find an open receiver on a deep pass into the end zone for the score. The play of the game would be the two point conversion attempt as the Royals were now only up 21 – 19. Sherrill and Nease would team up for the sack on the quarterback as he scrambled around in the backfield trying to make something happen but to no avail. Patrick McGrath snared down the onside kick attempt to hand the ball over to the offense. Wilke and Sherrill would work hard to get the key first down as Westfield was all out of timeouts to stop the clock as the game was winding down. The Royals would end the game in Victory Formation and walked away the victors, 21 – 19, in another great rivalry game between the two Hamilton County and HCC foes.
The HSE Freshmen Football Team will travel across the city to Boone County to take on the Zionsville Eagles in another HCC match up this Saturday, September 28th with kickoff starting at 10am.