GEORGETOWN - Blink and you might have missed the yellow penalty flags being thrown, before they disappeared among Georgetown's golden leaves littering the football field.
Royals coach Matt Bouchard saw every one of them, seven in all that penalized his team.
"We just got off schedule," he said of the effect it had on his team. "The thing is, even if we wanted to run the football, it's second and 15. The playbook gets cut in half pretty quickly."
Half a playbook, it seems, suits Georgetown nicely as it rolled to a 39-6 victory over Cape Ann Small counterpart Hamilton-Wenham.
It was a bleak start for the Generals. Their first play from scrimmage fell harmlessly incomplete. The second play also didn't find a receiver - or a quarterback - as the high snap sailed through the back of the end zone for a safety. From that point, only penalty flags could slow Georgetown (7-0), but not for long. After kicking a 20-yard field goal, Joe Esposito completed a 7-yard strike to Anthony Conte for the Royals' first touchdown.
The Royals also struggled with a few dropped passes in the first half, but the lefthander Esposito kept slinging the ball and finished 13 of 22 for 279 yards.
"Stuff like that happens," said the senior quarterback about the drops. "We just have to rebound from that."
With time ticking down in the first half, Hamilton-Wenham (4-4) went to quarterback Andy Duval, who completed a 50-yard pass to Derek Keith, advancing into Georgetown territory. In an effort to conserve time, the Generals rushed to the line, but the hasty snap led to a fumble.
The Royals took over with about a minute remaining, giving the ball to Esposito, who quickly drove Georgetown 69 yards before punching in a 1-yard score as the last second ticked off the scoreboard.
After taking over on a fumble, Duval (6 of 10 passing) was sacked by defensive tackle Eric Gesualdi, taking Hamilton-Wenham's centerpiece out of the game with a right leg injury.
Georgetown burned the Generals, Jaymie Spears's 31-yard touchdown reception upping the lead to 26-0. Bouchard applauded the efforts of his offense, including Spears, who he said was not a primary offensive contributor early in the season.
"Some of our skill guys really stepped up," he said, noting Spears's 130 all-purpose yards.
Esposito - Mr. All-Purpose - dragged in a 3-yard keeper for another score before heading to the sidelines for the game. He finished with 52 yards on 18 carries in addition to the field goal, an interception, two passing touchdowns, two rushing touchdowns, and four PATs.
Spears broke a 50-yard rushing touchdown to cap the Royals scoring. Dan Beckett brought in the Generals' only score - a 3-yard run around right end.