Bartlett, Everson fight past Larkin

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A courageous defensive effort by undermanned Larkin left Bartlett squeezing every ounce out of all-purpose running back Aaron Everson on Friday night at Elgin’s Memorial Field.

The Hawks needed a 251-yard rushing effort, 96-yard kick return touchdown, and even a completed pass from Everson to finally pull away from the Royals 24-7 in a nonconference Upstate Eight crossover contest.

“It was a war out there,” said Everson, after his fifth game of more than 225 rushing yards.

Larkin had tied the score at 7-7 early in the second quarter on Mo Jackson’s 5-yard touchdown run two plays after the Royals’ Kory Plate had blitzed and caused a fumble that teammate Giovanni Avila recovered at Bartlett’s 7.

“Our defense played way better than I’d hoped for — it was a lot better than any of our previous games,” Plate said.

But after the game-tying touchdown with 10:02 left in the second quarter, Everson took the kickoff outside the right hash mark, cut farther outside and then back inside to go all the way for the touchdown that provided the winning points, 14-7.

“That sure helped,” Bartlett coach Tom Meaney said. “We were kind of stumbling and mumbling and whatever.”

Larkin’s offense didn’t do much against Bartlett’s defense, but did provide enough ball control to help the defense stay off the field. The Royals put 320-pound Alex Schabert and 285-pound Adam Hamiel in the backfield as lead blockers for their ball carriers and caused problems.

“We were thinking, like, we could pull this off, we could surprise them,” Larkin coach Mike Scianna said. “All our kids fought so hard out here tonight.

“The seniors knew it was their last day out here on this field. They wanted to give everything they had and did. It showed all the way through.”

Larkin (2-5) had held Bartlett (5-2) to Everson’s 7-yard touchdown run with two minutes left in the first quarter before the kick return for a score.

Schabert, who was playing both ways and helping to fortify the defensive front, suffered a scary injury at the end of the third quarter when he was knocked unconscious and suffered arm numbness. Schabert was carted off the field, but Scianna said he was OK. He was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure.

The Hawks kept pounding Everson and he wound up with 28 carries, but it was his third-down 13-yard halfback option pass of 13 yards to Chris Kantzavelos that set up a 30-yard Steve Hrbacek field goal with 6:51 to go and provide some breathing room.

“It’s not natural for me,” Everson said of the pass. “So I was nervous because it was a bad pitch(out) at first.

“I saw Chris Kantzavelos’ helmet going across the field and just kind of threw it up hoping he would catch it.”

Everson then broke a 73-yard touchdown run with 2:48 to play to lock it up as the Hawks, who went to senior quarterback Kyle Garcia in the second half in place of sophomore starter Jordan Flint, became playoff eligible.

“We only have about 30 playoff points right now so we’re thinking we need to just keep winning,” Meaney said. “We’re going to need to beat South Elgin.”

BARTLETT 24, LARKIN 7

Bartlett 7 7 0 10 — 24

Larkin 0 7 0 0 – 7

B – Aaron Everson 7 run (Steve Hrbacek kick) 2:00, 1st

L – Maurece Jackson 5 run (Allen Delrosario kick) 10:17, 2nd

B – Everson 96 kick return (Hrbacek kick) 10:02, 2nd

B – Hrbacek 30 FG 6:51, 4th

B – Everson 73 run (Hrbacek kick) 2:48, 4 th

Team Stats B L

First downs 14 6

Comp.-att.-int. 2-7-1 3-8-2

Passing yards 27 47

Rushing att.-yards 43-267 33-89

Total yards 294 136

Fumbles-lost 4-1 3-1

Penalties 9-110 7-50

Individual Statistics

Rushing:

Bartlett – Everson 28-252, Nick Mazzei 4-13, Hrbacek 1-(minus)2, Alex Piedra 5-19, Jordan Flint 2-(minus)19, Alex Bailey 1-7, Kyle Garcia 2-(minus)3.

Larkin – Jackson 12-30, Damion Clemons 10-50, Jeffon Pruitt 9-7, Mario Randazzo 1-1, Adam Hamiel 1-1.

Passing:

Bartlett – Everson 1-1-0-13, Flint 1-5-0-14, Garcia 0-1-1-0.

Larkin – Pruitt 3-7-1-47, Jackson 0-1-1-0.

Receiving:

Bartlett – Chris Kantzavelos 2-27.

Larkin – Randazzo 1-3, Jarelle Shipp 1-9, Dante Bonds 1-35.

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