By PATRICK SLACK
Coming off its first loss of the season, Royalton’s defense made certain the Royals would bounce back quickly, Friday, sparking a 15-0 shutout at New York Mills.
Despite playing almost the entire night from behind, thanks to an early 2-yard touchdown run by Royalton junior Kyle Billmeyer, New York Mills seemed content to drain the clock as much as possible with its running game.
However, the Eagles found little room to operate against the stingy Royalton front, limiting the Eagles to 45 passing and 45 rushing yards for a mere 90 yards of total offense.
“They can keep the ball from you and wear you down,” Royalton head coach Jamie Morford said. “They have a very big bruising back who has punished teams all year and to hold them as a team to under 100 yards of total offense was a great defensive victory for our guys.
“Our coaching staff has done a great job all year at getting our guys ready for each week’s opponent and this week was no different,” he said. “New York Mills is a three yard and cloud of dust type team and if you can get them in second and long you have a great chance to force long third downs and make them do things that are not comfortable with.”
The Royals preserved their 7-0 lead until the night was almost over, then put the game away on a 22-yard scoring scamper by senior Tony Gadacz.
Gadacz rushed for 71 yards on 10 carries with Billmeyer gaining 64 yards.
Junior Brady Moulzolf ran for 53 yards and threw for another 30 while senior Cade Stang intercepted a pass.
Royalton improved to 5-1 on the season with the win, including a 3-1 mark in Prairie Conference South play.
“I thought our kids rebounded well from our loss last week to Ottertail Central,” Royalton head coach Jamie Morford said. “They understood that they played a good ball game against a great team and learned much from the loss.
“Afterwards we discussed situations like leaving points on the board when in the red zone and making key third- down conversions,” he said. “They realized how close they were. I think that helped fuel and focus them for New York Mills … we still left points on the board but played fast, aggressive Royalton football in order to get the win.”
The Royals are scheduled to host Browerville in their homecoming game, Friday.