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High school football: Parker Kingston helps Roy overcome slow to rally past Kearns for critical Region 2 win

BYU commit Kingston scored three TDs to key the rally, while sophomore Cove Rodriguez scored on a late blocked punt

SHARE High school football: Parker Kingston helps Roy overcome slow to rally past Kearns for critical Region 2 win

Box Score

Roy’s confidence was on a slippery slope to say the least early in Thursday’s game against visiting Kearns.

Falling behind two touchdowns less than five minutes into the Region 2 clash was a nightmare start for a Roy team coming off a very disappointing performance in last week’s loss at West, and also absent 11 contributors because of injury or suspension.

Despite all the adversity though, Roy showed tremendous resilience to battle back and pull out the 40-35 victory with a great second-half performance.

“I think we really came together as a team and trusted each other instead of relying on one person, our whole team came together and fought back and battled out for the win,” said Roy quarterback Parker Kingston, who rushed for three touchdowns to spearhead the victory.

Roy trailing 28-19 at the half after two failed two-point conversion attempts in the first half, but it proceeded to score 21 straight points in the second half before Kearns scored on a five-yard TD pass with 1:40 remaining in the game.

Kearns’ last-ditch onside kick attempt, however, rolled out of bounds as Roy finished out the must-win in victory formation.

Roy coach Fred Fernandes said his team’s slow start was very big concern. In the previous two weeks he said his team was beat up by both Hunter and West, and Kearns’ first few possessions looked like a carbon copy.

“Kearns looked like they were going to beat us up too,” said Fernandes.

Some defensive adjustments helped Roy clean up that side of the ball, and then offensively it was just about making plays.

Parker Kingston scored on a 37-yard TD run and then a 9-yard run to cut the deficit to 14-12 early in the second quarter, and then after Kearns regained the 21-12 lead, Ethan Ecker added his own TD run to cut the deficit to 21-19.

“Nothing surprises me anymore with (Kingston). He’s just got that breakaway speed, he can outrun angles. He’s just a really good athlete,” said Fernandes about his athlete who recently committed to BYU.

Roy, however, had another defensive breakdown before half which allowed Kearns to punch in another late touchdown for the 28-19 halftime lead.

In the second half Kingston and Ecker scored again on rushing touchdowns on Roy’s first two possessions of the half to put Kearns ahead 33-28, but the difference in the game came courtesy of the special teams.

With Kearns forced to punt deep in its own territory with 7:53 remaining in the game, Roy sophomore Cove Rodriguez got a free run up the middle at Kearns’ punter, blocking the kick and then recovering it himself in the end zone for the 40-28 lead.

“That was huge, that put us up two scores and allowed us to milk it the rest of the game,” said Fernandes.

Ironically enough, Fernandes said he had a good feeling Roy might score on the play, but on a punt return by Kingston with the Kearns’ coverage formation. Instead, Rodriguez stole the potential thunder of a fourth Kingston touchdown.

That blocked kick helped Roy improve to 2-1 in Region 2 and keep its region title hopes very much alive.