ROY — When West Jordan scored midway through the fourth quarter, Roy was reeling.
The Jaguars had the momentum, taking advantage of a broken play to cut the Royal lead to three with 8:45 left in the game.
But even though school hasn’t started yet, Roy running back Cade Harris had all the answers.
After the West Jordan comeback threat, Harris scored a pair of touchdowns on the next two possessions and Roy passed its first test as a 6A school, rolling to a 24-7 non-region victory Friday.
On the first play from scrimmage after the West Jordan touchdown, Harris raced almost untouched into the west end zone for a 69-yard scamper, then added a 9-yard sweep around left end with 6:27 remaining, tallying two touchdowns in a little over two minutes.
“We just all got in the huddle and we had to flip a switch and end them,” Harris said. “They could have come back at any time but we knew we had to get up and step on their throat and end it, and that’s what we did.”
Harris ran for more than 100 yards in the fourth quarter alone, helping complement a bruising ground game including backs Jaden Harris and Dillan Thoms.
“Let’s just keep pounding them; the more we pound them, the more they’re going to give up,” Harris said. “The big boys up front, they created the holes for me and I just found them and hit them.”
Sophomore kicker Britton Watts opened the scoring for the Royals with a 33-yard field goal at the 7:49 mark of the first quarter.
Defense played a big role in the first half as Roy recovered two fumbles in the second quarter — the first one in the end zone, squashing a West Jordan scoring drive early in the frame.
The second fumble recovery, by Tamasili Siliuta at Roy’s 45, led to a Royal touchdown when Jaden Harris carried in from 1 yard out with 3:58 left in the half.
Defensive coordinator Eric Jones stood in for suspended coach Fred Fernandes and saw his defense stand tall, creating four turnovers — three fumbles and an interception.
Tytan Fernandes grabbed the interception after Harris’ 69-yard run, which set up the 9-yarder a minute later.
“It’s a good foot to start the season off with,” Jones said of Roy’s foray into 6A play. “Over the last couple of years, the top tier of 5A and 6A are pretty similar, so some of those top teams we played in 5A (Corner Canyon, Skyridge) and in Region 5 are good preparation to transfer to the next level.”