Huskies Off to First 2-0 Start Since 2016 | News, Sports, Jobs
CADIZ — After not running one single offensive play in the first quarter, Harrison Central more than made up for it.
The Huskies took advantage of Toronto’s mistakes and used the big play in their favor as they erupted for 49 points — 27 coming in the final 12 minutes — over the final three panels en route to a 55-23 victory over the visiting Red Knights Thursday night on the artificial surface at Wagner Field.
Although the Huskies didn’t get off on the right foot, they are 2-0 for the first time since 2016 when they finished 7-3.
“That’s on me. I didn’t have them ready to play. That’s on me,” Harrison Central coach Anthony Hayes said of the slow start. “We’ve got to be ready to play from the get-go and we weren’t. Give credit to Toronto because we knew they were going to come in and try to make it a slow game. They executed their gameplan for a quarter-and-a-half.
“I didn’t do a good enough job of getting the kids prepared, but with that said, I was pleased with the resiliency they showed there. They showed a little bit of growth. Maybe we matured a little bit tonight. We were able to kick it in there and pull away.
“I tell the kids that winning is hard. There’s a lot of preparation that goes into it. We’re going to enjoy this one and then we’ll get back at it tomorrow (Friday) in preparing for Bellaire.”
Kobe Mitchell gave the Huskies the early lead when he stepped in front of a Caleb Leasure pass and returned it 53 yards for a touchdown. The PAT kick was blocked.
Toronto (0-2) answered with a long touchdown drive that covered 51 yards and took 10 plays while chewing up 5-minutes, 37-seconds off the clock. Tailback Garrett Dozier went in from six yards out. The Red Knights’ PAT was also no good.
Placekicker B.J. Pearson made up for the miss by recovering his own onside kick at the Harrison Central 49. Thirteen plays — all runs — and nearly eight minutes (7:55) later, Dozier crashed in from a yard out. A little razzle-dazzle gave the visitors a 14-6 advantage when backup quarterback Aiden Mick found Leasure for the two points.
Harrison Central finally lined up in its offensive formation with 7:04 left in the first half. It didn’t take the Huskies long to take control as James Brooks capped a 10-play, 61-yard march with a 2-yard burst up the middle. Brooks also hauled in the two-point pass from Mitchell and it was 14-all with 2:16 remaining before the half.
The Red Knights failed on a fourth-and-5 from the Huskies’ 31 and the hosts made them pay.
Mitchell lobbed the ball down the left hashmarks and Trevor Carman caught it in stride. The senior sprinted to paydirt to complete the 76-yard scoring play with 18 ticks on the clock. The two-point pass failed, leaving the hosts on top 20-14 at the half.
Brooks ran in from three yards out in the third quarter after a bad snap in punt formation by the Red Knights gave the Huskies possession deep in Toronto’s end of the field. Mitchell’s two-point run made it 28-14.
Toronto scored the next nine points to pull to within 28-23 heading into the fourth quarter, but Harrison Central didn’t slow down any.
The Red Knights used a 1-yard burst by Dozier, a Pearson PAT kick and a safety to get close, but the Huskies skilled performers took over.
Brooks broke off a 32-yard scoring run and Mitchell swept around left end for 63 yards and another six points. Mitchell then found Carman from 13 yards out before backup quarterback Hayden Cassidy found Gabe Marbais for a 15-yard scoring strike. Jace Madzia was good on the first three PATs. There was no attempt on the fourth.
“Honestly, it’s mental mistakes. We talk about it all the time. The recipe to winning football games is who has the most big plays and who turns the ball over the most,” Toronto head coach Josh Franke said. “You’ve got to be the one on the good side of that. You’ve got to the one’s making the big plays and creating the turnovers. We didn’t. They (Harrison Central) forced the turnovers and made the big plays. We were on the short end of both of those, and you can’t expect to win football games when you make those kind of mistakes.”
Dozier finished with 101 yards and three TD runs on 26 carries for Toronto. However, he only mustered 18 yards after the half on seven totes.
“We made some adjustments in the second quarter and then at halftime,” Hayes explained. “I’m proud of the kids and the coaches for making those adjustments. I’m also proud of the kids for stepping up and playing better.”
Brooks ran for 97 yards and scored three times on just eight carries. Mitchell was 7 of 9 for 135 yards and two TDs. He also ran for 56 yards on six carries. Carman caught four passes for 110 stripes and the two scores.
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