The Harrells Christian Academy Crusaders bounced back in a big way Friday after losing their season opener last week. HCA took on the Statesville Christian High School Lions, who are currently in the midst of their football program’s inaugural season.
The Lions put up a solid fight and made things interesting in the fourth quarter, but HCA ultimately ran away with the game by a score of 41-20. HCA’s signature ground game was on full display Friday, led by phenomenal performances from the Scarborough brothers, Marcus and Tyshii. The Crusaders dominated from the very beginning, mounting an 80 yard drive to open the game, with Kevin Carney crossing the goal line with a 3-yard touchdown run.
SCHS did catch a bit of a break when HCA missed the point after attempt, and they returned the ensuing kickoff to the 32-yard line. The Lions drove the ball all the way down to HCA’s 12-yard line, but eventually turned the ball over on downs after some costly penalties and a huge stop in the backfield by Crusader senior Marcellos Allison. HCA took over at their own 23-yard line and advanced quickly down the field thanks to back-to-back rushes from Marcus Scarborough and a huge 56-yard run by Allison. Two plays later Carney scored his second rushing touchdown of the night, giving the Crusaders the 12-0 lead with 1:15 left in the quarter. HCA went up 14-0 with the successful two point conversion.Disaster then struck for Statesville Christian when they misplayed the kickoff resulting in the ball being recovered by HCA junior Corey Pruitt.
On the very next play Marcus Scarborough broke out for a 25-yard touchdown run, and freshman Stancil Bowles’ second point after attempt was good, giving HCA the 21-0 lead after the first quarter. Despite some fantastic plays on defense from seniors Isaac Edgren, Nathan Casteen, and Cole Hardison, the Lions did get on the board to make it 21-7 with 7:27 left in the second quarter.
SCHS was given a golden opportunity when HCA fumbled the ball on their next possession, but an incredible play from Hardison resulted in a tipped ball and an interception for Scarborough. HCA once again drove the field, and Marcus Scarborough ran for a 30-yard touchdown as time expired in the first half, giving the Crusaders a 27-7 lead. After dominating the first two quarters, HCA seemed to lose a little momentum as SCHS dominated the third quarter. After scoring a touchdown in the third to make it 27-14, the Lions shocked the crowd at Murphy-Johnson Field by making it a one touchdown game at the 10:41 mark in the fourth quarter thanksto an incredible catch that led to a 55-yard touchdown. Just as it seemed that the Crusaders were beginning to lose control of the game, Allison made an absolutely stunning return on the ensuing kickoff; Allison somehow escaped multiple SCHS players around the 10-yard line and bulldozed all the way to the41-yard line. Marcus Scarborough broke through for what seemed to be a certain touchdown run on the very next play, but was tripped up by a SCHS defender. A flag was thrown for the tripping, but was eventually picked up and waved off by the referee. Tyshii Scarborough picked up where his brother left off on the next play, with a 20-yard touchdown run to make it 33-20.
The Crusaders ran another successful two point conversion to extend their lead to 35-20 with 9:51 minutes left in the game. HCA quickly got the ball back thanks to two big tackles from junior Harley Bachelor and Casteen, while Edgren added a huge sack as well. Back on offense, the Crusaders put the final nail in the coffin thanks to three big runs from Tyshii Scarborough which led to Carney punching the ball in at the goal line for his third touchdown of the game. Not long after, the clock struck zero, and HCA had their first win of the season by a score of 41-20. The victory was the first under new head coach Mike Brill. “It feels good,” said Brill with a smile, “good.” The self-proclaimed man of few words later dedicated the victory to former HCA head coach and North Carolina high school football legend Jack Holley, who passed away in 2013.
Tyshii Scarborough led the Crusaders with 163 rushing yards on 19 carries and also added a touchdown. Marcus Scarborough had 158 rushes on 17 carries with two touchdowns, while Kevin Carney had three rushing touchdowns. On defense, junior Don Banks and Casteen led HCA with 5 tackles apiece, while Allison had 4.5. Junior Luke Quinn and Edgren both added three tackles respectively. HCA is now 1-1 on the season, and will hit the road for the first time in 2015 next Friday to take on Red Springs High School.