ROY — Roy coach Fred Fernandes wanted to be ecstatic about his team’s third-straight victory over rival Fremont, but it was tough.
“Kind of feels like a loss,” said Fernandes after his team hung on for the 27-20 win Friday night despite numerous mistakes in the fourth quarter.
For a program that’s only a few years removed from being happy about any wins, being disappointed about a sloppy one is a big step for the now 3-0 Royals.
Roy led 27-6 heading into the fourth quarter, but mistake after mistake — not to mention big plays by Fremont — allowed the visitors to claw back into the game. After losing close games the first two weeks, the Wolves looked poised to reverse that trend as QB Justin Shaw marched his team downfield on a two-minute drive in the final minute.
After a 35-yard pass completion moved the chains down to Roy’s 32-yard line, Roy linebacker Cody Hobbs clinched the victory on an interception with 28 seconds remaining.
“I just saw (the quarterback) running around and then I saw a guy run free deep behind so I just kept backing up and he threw it right to me, pretty easy pick,” said Hobbs. “The win helps our whole community. Fremont kind of looks down on the Roy community.”
Hobbs was a star on both sides of the ball.
After Tyler Skidmore put Roy ahead 7-0 on a 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, Skidmore hit Hobbs on a slant route early in the second and Hobbs broke one tackle on his way to the 81-yard score and a 14-0 lead.
“They were trying to play man on our outside receivers and we knew we could take advantage of that all day, and we did,” said Hobbs, who finished with five catches for 190 yards.
Roy answered right back on its opening drive of the third quarter, with Kyden DeGroot plunging in from the 4-yard line for the 27-6 lead. Up three touchdowns, Hobbs said the Royals started to play “too comfortable,” like the game was already over.
After near-misses the first two weeks, Fremont kept grinding.
Cole Bingham cut Roy’s lead to 27-13 with 11:13 remaining on a 3-yard touchdown run, and after a quick defensive stop Shaw found Bowen Koenig on an 8-yard TD strike, making it a 27-20 game with 8:40 left. Shaw completed 21 of 36 passes for 249 yards.
Roy went three-and-out on its next two series, and even fumbled a punt, giving Fremont excellent field position. But the Royals defense came up huge when it needed to.
“I’m happy for the defense making the plays, but honestly we’ve got to be the most penalized team in the state and we’re going to have to take care of that,” said Fernandes.
Skidmore completed 18 of 30 passes for 297 yards in the win for the Royals, and Fernandes hinted it should’ve been a lot more had Roy not altered its play-calling with the 21-point lead.