The Harrells Crusaders football team kicked off their home schedule on Friday Night, hosting the Rocky Mount Preparatory Jaguars on the gridiron. After suffering a meltdown loss in the closing minutes of their Week 1 contest at Carrboro, the Crusaders left little doubt as to the final outcome in Week 3 as they crushed the Jaguars 61-8.
Harrells struck early and struck often on Friday. It took just four plays for the Crusaders to score on their opening drive as Tyshon Newkirk was off to the races on a 48-yard touchdown run. With Will DeAndrade’s extra point kick, Harrells was up 7-0.
It wasn’t very much long thereafter that the Crusaders struck again. After forcing the Jaguars to three-and-out, Jack Laslo takes the first play of the ensuing drive 50-yards to the end zone. Another DeAndrade PAT extended the Harrells lead to 14-0.
The Crusaders defense continued to be stingy on the ensuing Rocky Mount drive as Ashton Smith collected his second interception of the season and advanced the ball deep into Jaguars territory at the 15-yd line. Two plays later, Mar’Chris Jackson scampers 10-yards for the third Harrells touchdown of the first quarter. DeAndrade, consistent as ever, sent it through the uprights on the PAT to make it 21-0.
On the ensuing RMP drive, Harrells continued to throw its weight around on the defensive front as they forced another three-and-out for the Jaguars. This would set up the fourth touchdown of the opening quarter for the Crusaders when Shameek Darby scored from 5-yards out to make it 27-0. This time the PAT was no good, but still, Harrells held a commanding 27-0 lead heading into the second quarter.
Harrells continued to find offensive success in the second quarter as Rocky Mount just simply didn’t have a defensive answers for the Crusaders.
Laslo found the end zone for his second touchdown of the night when he scored from 4-yards away. The PAT was good as Harrells now lead 34-0 early in the third.
Two more touchdowns in the first half – another one by Laslo from 16-yards out and one from Malik Williams from 4-yards out – pushed the score beyond the mercy rule threshold that brought out a running clock the remainder of the way as the first half score reached 48-0 by halftime.
With the clock set on cruise control throughout the entirety of the second half, the game quickly drew to a close. Not before, however, a couple more touchdowns from the Crusaders as well as a surprise 84-yard bomb from the Jaguars.
Albert Thornton scored one of the second half touchdowns for the Crusaders, running it in from 16-yards out to make it 54-0.
With action now in the fourth quarter, Rocky Mount’s score came as a pass attempt to Kyon Bryant split two defenders that fell to the ground. The ball landed perfectly in Bryant’s hands who was off to the races for the score. The two point conversion was good, bringing the score to 54-8.
The Crusaders found pay dirt one more time before the end of the game when ran it in from 35-yards out. After another PAT, the game reached it’s final tally of 61-8.
After the game, Crusaders head coach Jason Arnette spoke boldly and proudly of his team.
“We gave a great effort tonight,” Arnette began. “We gave that same effort two weeks ago it just didn’t go our way. I’ve got a good group of kids that absolutely do not quit. We have a good football team.”
Arnette also spoke on the level of competition his Crusaders will be facing over the next couple weeks.
“We’ve got a a tough three games coming up and we’re really going to find out who we are next week. These upcoming teams are really good but I think we have a good one as well so we’ll line up and see if we can’t play with them,” Arnette concluded.
Offensively for the game, Harrells had 287 total yards – all of which was rushing. They ran just 23 plays and averaged 12.5 yards per play.
Laslo led the way with 103 yards and three touchdowns on just seven carries. Newkirk wasn’t far behind with 69 yards and a touchdown on four carries. Darby had 53 yards and two touchdowns and Thornton had 24 yards and a touchdown on four carries.
With the win, Harrells improves to 1-1 on the season and will host Village Christian Academy next Friday at 7 p.m.
Reach Sports Editor Daron Barefoot at [email protected]