KAYSVILLE — And then there was one.
Something had to give in Friday night’s Region 1 marquee contest between unbeatens Davis and Roy, and when the dust — or rather, the artificial turf rubberized pellets — finally settled, it was the Royals, coupled with Weber’s loss to Layton, who found themselves atop the league standings.
The memorable matchup, unfortunately staged in front of a COVID-induced, sparse Homecoming audience in Kaysville — uncharacteristic for the school now in its second century — was a preview of what should shape up to be a frenetic close to the region season. The Warriors visit the Darts in two weeks before hosting the Royals to close out the regular season.
But make no mistake, the Royals are in the driver’s seat.
In a game that featured six touchdown plays of 60 or more yards, it wasn’t until Jackson Leaver’s 53-yard field goal attempt fell just short with no time remaining on the clock were the Royals able to celebrate with an unlikely 48-47 triumph.
And that after trailing 47-33 with only 2:28 to play.
“This is the craziest game that I’ve ever been a part of, for sure,” Roy’s Cade Harris said. “It was nuts.
“We knew coming in that they had dudes on offense, of course with (David) Spjut and (Spencer) Ferguson. We just had to slow them down," Harris said. "They started off hot and we just had to keep batting and keep fighting, and that’s what we did.”
The drama that unfolded in the final 14 minutes made this one an instant classic that will be remembered by both sides for years to come.
After swapping touchdowns all evening, Davis appeared to wrestle control late in the third. A 63-yard, cross-field touchdown scramble by Chance Trujillo put the Darts up 40-33. The Royals then struck back with a drive, but it ended short with a dropped halfback pass in the end zone on fourth down.
Davis stayed aggressive with 8:48 to play and moved the ball on a 13-play drive, capped by a 3-yard Ferguson touchdown to go up 47-33.
Roy stormed right down the field and made it a one score game on Parker Kingston’s 12-yard scoring pass to Tytan Fernandes, but only 1:08 remained on the clock.
The ensuing onside kick just escaped through the arms of a Roy player, leaving the Darts with a chance to run out the clock. However, Davis inexplicably fumbled the first two snaps from scrimmage, losing the second one, and the Royals had new life. Sure enough, they moved the ball to the Davis 20 when Kingston found Ethan Ecker down the left sideline on fourth-and-3 for a touchdown.
The Royals then went for the win with a two-point attempt. A penalty inched the ball closer to the end zone, where Harris burst through to put Roy ahead.
The conversion didn’t quite put the nail in the coffin, however. Consecutive Royal penalties set up the Darts for the last-gasp winning field goal attempt.
“(I do) whatever Coach (Luke) Hobbs and Coach (Fred) Fernandes want,” Harris added. “They run this thing. I’m just thankful for my line and my quarterback. They do everything. Without them I wouldn’t have anything, so all props goes to them.”
Although the Darts finished in the middle of the pack in the league standings a season ago, their 34-20 win over the Royals ultimately cost Roy a share of the region title with eventual champion Syracuse. Ferguson went north of 100 yards rushing and scored in the victory.
The game within the game Friday featured a matchup between two of the top running backs in the state. Ferguson started the evening with a state-best 846 yards on the ground (169.2 ypg), while Roy’s Izzy Gordon ranked third with 721 rushing yards (144.2 ypg). The pair also ranked among the state individual leaders with a combined 17 touchdowns.
While both players continued to factor into their respective offenses Friday evening, the scoring load came from their supporting casts. And, if you like explosive football, the game featured a season’s worth of dynamic touchdowns.
Spjut kicked things off on the second play from scrimmage, hauling in a 64-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Chance Trujillo. He nearly went down but stayed on his feet long enough to reach the end zone for a 6-0 lead.
Parker Kingston answered. On Roy’s second snap, Kingston went straight up the gut on a quarterback keeper and outraced the Dart defense for a 72-yard touchdown to make it 7-6 four plays into the game.
The Darts stole the lead back a short time later on another long touchdown. This time, Trujillo matched his Roy counterpart with a 61-yard scramble for six.
Roy put the ball in the hands of its own potent offensive weapon, Harris, to get the lead back. Harris wend 9 yards off-tackle to make it 14-13 early in the second period.
Trujillo then struck again from distance, rolling out and completing a 66-yard scoring strike to a streaking Spjut midway through the quarter. But, after a solid punt return to the Davis 36, Harris ultimately tied it up by squirting through the Dart defensive line. A blocked kick left the score knotted at 20-20 with 29 seconds to play in the first half.
But again, the Davis offense responded. A pair of receptions by Owen Murdock took the ball to the Roy 33 and, with under four seconds on the clock, Murdock hauled in a touchdown pass to put the Darts back in front, 26-20, at the half.
The Royals finished with 452 rushing yards and 637 yards of total offense, featuring 207 on the ground from Kingston to go with three scores. Gordon added 174 and Harris chipped in with 71 and also caught six balls for 92 yards.
For the Darts, who rolled up 530 yards of offense themselves, Trujillo ran for 124 yards, while Ferguson had 94. Trujillo also threw for 307 yards and four touchdowns.