Larkin blanks rival Elgin, becomes playoff eligible
Stifling defense and just enough offense.
Those ingredients produced an 18-0 win for Larkin over intracity rival Elgin in Upstate Eight Conference action at Memorial Stadium Friday night.
The game was played in a steady drizzle.
With the win Larkin becomes playoff eligible with a 5-3 record while the Maroons' playoff chances are over with a 3-5 mark.
"We feel good about getting into the playoffs for the second straight year," said Larkin coach Grant Dietz. "We make sure we get into the playoffs with a sixth win next week."
In the second half, Elgin mounted 2 drives inside the 10 but was unable to put any points on the scoreboard.
With 3:33 left in the third quarter, Elgin moved to the 8-yard line but Terrell Arrington's pass was incomplete.
The Royals maintained the shutout with 33 seconds left as Jalen Miller stripped the ball from the Elgin ball carrier and Damani Cannon recovered at the 5 yard line.
"Our defense really came up big in the second half," said Dietz. "We played tit for tat with them in the first half and we executed batter in the second half."
Jalen Miller provided the offensive fireworks for the winners.
Miller, who had a 19-yard touchdown run in the first half, gave the Royals a 2-touchdown lead with an 80-yard run with 9:43 remaining.
"The blocking was unbelievable," said Miller. "I had a huge hole to run through. We executed better in the second half and it is nice to beat our rivals for a second straight year and be playoff eligible."
Miller's cohort in the backfield Chevelle Clements had a 22-yard run in the second half and a key block on Miller's 80-yard TD scamper.
"I just want to help the team win," said Clements. "It is nice to beat Elgin again and be playoff eligible."
Set up by a 72-yard run by Kevin Malone, the Royals scored on a 6-yard pass from Tizirian Johnson Williams to Erick Myrick with 3:31 left in the third quarter.
A 95-yard punt return for a touchdown by Myrick was wiped out by penalty with 10:05 left in the game.
Missing starting quarterback James Syrek with a broken foot, Elgin coach Anthony Mason was pleased with the effort of Arrington.
"TA battled and played well," said Mason. "We just couldn't finish tonight. Missed opportunities has been the story of our season. We are disappointed we are out of the playoff picture. We want to finish on a high note at Glenbard South next week."