LAYTON — Realignment ebbs and flows based on student population, not geography.
Roy and Layton, separated by acrimony and a little less than 10 miles of asphalt, have not been in the same region since 2010.
With some built-in breaks along the way, the Royals faced an eight-game losing slate against the Lancers in region battles, dating back to the early ’90s.
So obviously, all of the current crop of Royals were a long way from even being a twinkle in their parent’s eyes the last time Roy beat Layton in league play.
That came to an end Friday evening.
Down by three scores late in the first half, Roy rallied with four straight touchdowns the rest of the way and exorcised the decades-long demons with a narrow 28-24 Region 1 road victory.
Junior quarterback Jaxson Dart threw four touchdown passes over the final three quarters to dig out of a 17-0 hole and keep Roy (3-1, 2-0 Region 1) undefeated in league action.
“We gave them opportunities, turned the ball over and made stupid mistakes, but we battled through adversity and won the thing,” Dart said. “We just felt we had to keep pounding them and they got tired and we made them pay for it.”
Three of Dart’s touchdowns went to Cade Harris, including a 35-yarder with 7:07 left in the third quarter which gave the Royals their first lead at 21-17.
“We’ve played together a long time and have each other’s timing down really well, and he was able to get open; he’s one of our best players and we need to get the ball in his hands,” Dart said.
Harris caught a 32-yard pass from Dart early in the fourth quarter in what proved to be the winning score.
Micah Parkinson hauled in a 28-yard touchdown pass for Layton from quarterback Tyler Reid with 6:02 left in the game to close the gap at the end.
Defense dominated early before Roy fumbled a punt to set Layton (1-3, 0-2) up in the red zone (or blue zone, if you prefer) late in the first quarter.
Landon Brandt survived a collision at the 10 and completed a 12-yard pitch and run from Reid for a touchdown to put Layton up 7-0 with 1:49 left in the first period.
In a repeat performance, Roy fumbled Layton’s next punt. Brandt then bounced off the center of the Roy line and raced 35 yards to paydirt and a 14-0 Lancer lead.
Continuing the carnage, Roy fumbled yet again, this time on a play from scrimmage, and Layton marched downfield, culminating in a 27-yard Porter Hansen field goal with 2:53 left in the second stanza.
When Roy held onto the ball, good things happened. Dart answered with a pair of TD tosses, 33 yards to Harris and a 2-yarder to Parker Kingston in the next minute and a half to cut the deficit to 17-14 at the half.
The comeback was on.
“Roy is a good team; they came back last week too,” Layton defensive coordinator Cameron Pribble said. “They ran their two-minute offense and took advantage of that. They had six quick plays at the end of the first half, scored twice and got the momentum.”