SPORTS NEW FROM HARMONY I.S.D. by Charles Johnson:
GRAND SALINE – The Harmony Eagles completed a perfect, 7-0, run through District 10-AAA, Division II, with an overwhelming, 55-13, defeat of the Grand Saline Indians last Friday night in the regular season finale for both teams. This was the nineteenth victory for the Eagles in their last twenty regular season games. Harmony had sewn up the district championship the previous week.
The victory propels the Eagles (9-1, 7-0) into the state playoffs where they will meet the Bells Panthers in bi-district competition on Thursday, November 15, at Rains I.S.D. stadium in Emory. Kickoff is slated for 7 P.M. Grand Saline also qualified for the playoffs and will meet Blue Ridge in bi-district on Friday in Terrell.
Harmony started out fast against GS. Cameron Helpenstill returned the opening kickoff to the Indian 49. Four plays later, Gage Goddard hit Michael Everett with a 26-yard touchdown pass to begin lighting the scoreboard. Spencer Yates kicked his first of seven extra points for a 7-0 lead only 64 seconds into the game.
The Harmony defense turned the ball over on downs at the Eagle-44, but four plays later, the Eagles committed their lone turnover of the game when the pigskin was fumbled at the GS-35. A quick three-and-out by the Indians forced a GS punt as Harmony took over at their own 20.
Barrett Hill ripped off 30 yards on the next play, and teammate Brody Powledge followed with an electrifying, 50-yard scamper for six points and a 14-0 Harmony lead with 1:57 to go in the first quarter.
The Eagles were not finished with the initial period success, however, as two plays later, Everett showed his defensive skills with a 33-yard interception return for a “pick-six” to increase the Harmony lead to 21-0 with 1:10 showing in the first.
Both teams’ punting groups struggled on their next possessions. Harmony partially blocked an Indian punt, but the Eagle offense stalled. A bad snap over the Eagle punter’s head put Grand Saline in excellent field position at the Eagle-27. A quick first down gave the Indians 1st-and-goal at the Harmony-8.
On second and goal from the 5, Harmony’s Caleb McNeil scooped an Indian pass before it hit the end zone turf. McNeil returned the ball 101 yards before he was caught at the GS-four yardline. Two plays later, Easton Blackstone chugged two yards across the double-stripe for another Eagle tally and a 28-0 lead with 6:24 showing in the second quarter.
Harmony’s final first half score came at the 3:10 mark before halftime. Following an Indian punt to the Eagle-15, Hill raced through a gaping hole in the middle of his line and sped 85 yards down the middle of the field to give Harmony a 35-0 margin into the locker rooms.
The second half was played with a “running” clock and massive substitutions by the Eagles. Harmony’s lone third quarter score came on a one-yard run by Isaac Edwards. This was a 9-play, 66 yard scoring drive.
Grand Saline finally gave their “Senior Night” crowd a reason to celebrate when Jake Humphrey raced 54 yards for an Indian TD. Jose Vargas booted the PAT to narrow the score to 42-7. Hill returned the ensuing kickoff 32 yards to the GS-48. Two plays later, Jarrett Langford sprinted 43 yards untouched for an Eagle TD to neutralize the GS score on the first play of the fourth quarter.
The Indians scored one more time in the fourth stanza on a 55-yard pass from Jase Melton to Levi Humphrey. On the following kickoff, Barrett Hill scooped he ball at his own 14. He made a circling retreat inside his own ten, received some key blocks, and raced 86 yards for a special teams score for the Eagles. Yates’ PAT was the final nail in the Indians’ coffin for a completed verdict of 55-13.
Hill was the leading rusher in the game for Harmony. He had 147 yards and a TD on only 7 carries, all in the first half. Goddard completed both of his pass attempts for 39 yards and one TD pass.
Easton Blackstone and Drew McNeel anchored the Harmony defense with a dozen tackles each. Other top Eagle defenders included: Trent Hart, 7 tackles; Leo Arellano, 7 tackles; Isaac Edwards, 6 tackles; and Nick Parvin, 5 tackles.
One quite unusual statistical quirk in this game was the absence of the yellow flag. Not a single penalty was called on either team in the entire game.
In winning the district crown, Harmony easily swept away their conference opponents. The Eagles’ stiffest district competition came from second place Troup whom the Eagles defeated, 36-14. But Coach Tim Russell’s squad knows a “new” season begins this week as all teams enter the playoffs with a 0-0 record. From this point forward in the 2018 campaign, it will be “one game at a time.” It is “win or go home” time.
HARMONY 55 GRAND SALINE 13
Score by quarter:
1 2 3 4 T
Harmony 21 14 7 13 – 55
Grand Saline 0 0 7 6 – 13
GAME AT A GLANCE
HARMONY GRAND SALINE
12 ……..… First Downs ………….. 8
26-304 …. Rushes-Yds ……… 37-145
2-2-0 …….. Passes: C-A-I …….. 1-6-2
39 ……….. Passing Yds ………. 55
343 ………. Total Yds …………. 200
0-0 ……….. Penalties-Yds ……. 0-0
2-1 ………… Fumbles-Lost ……. 2-0
0-0 ……….. Punts-Avg. ……… 6-33.5