ROY — On Friday the 13th with a full moon keeping watch up above, one may have looked at those circumstances and guessed the local high school football games would experience some weirdness.
That would imply that Region 1 football hasn’t already been weird enough.
The Syracuse-Roy matchup only took it to another level.
Running on a recently sprained ankle and coming off a week of no contact in practice, Titans’ quarterback Bridger Hamblin scored on a 7-yard run in double overtime to secure a 41-38 win for Syracuse (4-1, 3-0 Region 1), putting the Titans in the Region 1 driver’s seat with Davis High.
“We know when Bridge can go, it’s 100 miles an hour. He’s a million miles an hour, getting after it. He only has one speed and that’s it,” Syracuse head coach Mike Knight said. “I can’t praise him enough.”
For the second week in a row, Syracuse went on the road and knocked off a defending region champion in dramatic fashion.
Last week, sophomore Bennett Carlson kicked a 37-yard game-winning field goal in a 24-21 win at two-time defending Region 1 champ Weber.
This week, Hamblin had a hand in all six Titans’ touchdowns — four passes and two runs — as they knocked off last year’s Region 5 champ.
“I love doing everything I can. My teammates expect that out of me and I expect the same things out of them,” Hamblin said. “We’re feeling great. We want to go win this region and have a good spot in the playoffs. We’re feeling great.”
Two TD strikes went to Ty Burke in the first quarter. One went to Sam Adams in the second quarter and Burke caught his third in overtime.
After Burke’s first TD catch (a 26-yard screen pass with 9:04 left in the first quarter), Roy running back Izzy Gordon took a handoff and went 81 yards for a touchdown virtually untouched.
Four plays later, Burke walked into the end zone after a 46-yard touchdown catch-and-run.
The Royals (3-2, 2-1 Region 1) completed a 78-yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown run by Dillan Thoms early in the second to give them a 14-13 lead.
“(Hamblin) is a hell of a player, he’s hopping around on one leg and put his team on his shoulders,” Roy head coach Fred Fernandes said. “I think our offense put our defense in some really bad spots, when you have such short fields a couple of times and we don’t score because we drop the ball, that creates some problems.”
Titans’ receiver Sam Adams made an impressive jumping catch in tight coverage for a 14-yard TD pass, giving Syracuse a 20-14 halftime lead.
Gordon scored on a 7-yard run late in the third quarter to give the Royals a 21-20 lead. They pushed the lead to 28-20 when Thoms ran for a 10-yard score. The Royals were doing what Weber did to Syracuse last week: running it right down the Titans’ throat.
Then came what Knight calls the defining moment of the game: an 11-play, 84-yard drive that included a fumbled snap which set Syracuse back 13 yards.
The drive ended on a 2-yard Hamblin keeper, followed by a successful double reverse run by Burke on the ensuing 2-point conversion to tie the game at 28.
“Holy cow, it would’ve been so easy to fold up shop and then we needed a score and go for two, and then we got the two-point conversion on top of the touchdown, so it was that, to be honest, was the defining moment where I knew the kids were in it for the long run,” Knight said.
Burke kicked things off in the first overtime with a 19-yard TD catch. Roy’s Jaden Harris, playing sparingly with a tweaked ankle, rumbled in for a corresponding 1-yard TD run to send the game to double overtime.
Roy settled for a 21-yard field goal by Britton Watts to start the second overtime.
Syracuse’s game-winning drive consisted of five plays, all Hamblin runs.