BRIGHAM CITY — There’s nothing fancy about the way the Roy High offense has been compelled to try and move the football much of the season.
Run the ball to the left behind Mercy Matautia and Drake Hamblin. Over and over and over again.
It’s the way it goes when two starting linemen are injured and the starting center is playing tackle.
Against Box Elder with a playoff spot on the line Friday, it was enough. Trace Tupe carried the ball 29 times for 139 yards, Kyrese Rowan totaled 55 yards on six carries and Roy gutted out a 14-6 victory.
Tupe finished the Bees off with a 2-yard gain on fourth-and-1 — not surprisingly, a run to the left.
“We’re pretty thin, but we’re battling, and hopefully we can get healthy now,” Roy coach Fred Fernandes said.
Roy (4-4, 2-2 Region 5) has a bye next week before concluding the regular season with a non-region contest at Layton on Oct. 18. Fernandes anticipates having both injured linemen back for the playoffs. He said one could have played Friday in an emergency situation.
Box Elder (3-5, 0-3) now faces a must-win situation next week at Woods Cross (5-3, 1-2).
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Roy fell behind early Friday when Box Elder quarterback Jeremy Kaleikini found Braxton Moser for a 39-yard touchdown on a wheel route with 1:16 remaining in the first period. The Bees went for two but couldn’t convert.
The Royals, who didn’t do much on their first two possessions of the game, then went 72 yards on 10 plays. Rowan had a 26-yard run on the drive and Tupe carried the ball six times for 38 yards. Tupe eventually found the end zone on a 6-yard run for a 7-6 lead.
Roy extended its lead on a 3-yard touchdown run by Tupe with 5:44 left in the third quarter. Tupe’s run punctuated a nine-play, 64-yard drive. Rowan contributed to the march with a 24-yard reception.
Both teams squandered opportunities to put up more points. A 45-yard touchdown pass from Jaxson Dart to Rowan was waved off due to a holding call with 7:17 left in the second quarter, and a pair of penalties pushed the Royals out of field-goal range late in the fourth quarter after they marched to the Box Elder 13.
Roy also missed an opportunity to score late in the first half when time ran out following a completion that took the ball to the Box Elder 3. In the third quarter, the Royals turned it over on downs after driving to the Bees 34.
Box Elder started one drive at midfield and another drive at the Roy 45 in the second quarter but couldn’t score. The Bees drove to the Royals 36 in the third quarter and to the Royals 28 in the fourth quarter but turned it over on downs both possessions.
“(We) took away what Box Elder does best,” said Fernandes, who gave credit to defensive coordinator Eric Jones. “Eric’s kind of the master of that. We weren’t going to let Kaleikini beat us with his legs.
“He got away a couple times passing, scrambling, but from the line of scrimmage — designed runs — he didn’t do a whole lot, and he’s been gouging some people. I think Eric did a heck of a job.”
Roy has now qualified for the playoffs five straight seasons.
“We’ve definitely had our downs, but we’ve had our ups, too,” Tupe said of the season.