The Harrells Crusaders hosted their second straight football contest on Friday night when Village Christian Academy paid a visit. The Knights were coming in on a two game winning streak, defeating their first two opponents in blowout fashion. Harrells was hoping to have a little more success against VCA on Friday, but, the Knights were having none of it as they methodically pulled away fro the 43-6 victory.
The first quarter was actually pretty nip and tuck as the two teams duked it out while Village Christian also had some attitude issues to work through. Harrells was intercepted on their first offensive series of the game which help set up a touchdown for the Knights to give them an early lead at 6-0.
On the ensuing Crusaders drive, Harrells benefited from a couple of personal foul unsportsmanlike penalties that were assessed against the Knights after they became a little too aggressive and mouthy.
At one point, the refs were forced to call both teams to a meeting on the field to try to settle the emotions as VCA continued to be mouthy.
The energy on the field helped the Crusaders move downfield efficiently. The Crusaders then capped the drive off with a 1-yard touchdown fun by Jack Laslo to make it 6-6. Kicker Will DeAndrade’s extra point try was wide left as the score remained 6-6.
The first quarter came to a close with the score still knotted at 6-6, but the Knights were threatening.
On the first play of the second quarter, Village Christian found the end zone a second time when Timothy Grate found Adam Norman on a 30-yard touchdown pass. Asa Barnes ran it in to covert the two point try to put the Knights back ahead at 14-6.
Unfortunately for the Crusaders, their scoring was done for the night.
The first play of the ensuing Harrells drive looked promising as Tyshon Newkirk picked up 17 yards on running play. The drive stalled there, however, as the Crusaders then went three and out and were forced to punt.
VCA’s next drive was a seven-play scoring drive that was capped off by a short rushing touchdown by Dante Brown. The PAT was good as the Knights were now up 21-6.
Harrells next drive was another one that looked promising as the Crusaders settled in for a long series. Harrells was threatening at the Knights 20-yard line late in the quarter when the 17th play of the series resulted in an interception by VCA’s Barnes to thwart the scoring chance.
With that, the Knights ran just two plays before the half ended with a 21-6 Village Christian lead.
Harrells took the ball first in the second half and found some success as they marched down to the Knights 36-yard line. The drive went backwards from there, however, as the Crusaders were forced to punt out near midfield.
On the ensuing drive, Village Christian capped off three running plays of 25-plus yards for the score. The scoring play was a 26-yard run by Chris McKay to make it 27-6. After the two point try was good, VCA was ahead 29-6.
The next Harrells drive didn’t amount to much as the Crusaders were forced to punt it away from their own 40-yard line as the game transitioned to the fourth quarter.
This set Village Christian up for another touchdown as it took just two plays the Knights to strike again, this time on a 35-yard touchdown pass from Grate to Ty Stanley. After the PAT was blocked, Village Christian was in firm control at 35-6 early in the fourth.
One final drive by Harrells saw the Crusaders drive once again into Knights territory but the drive was cut short at the VCA 27-yard line.
The Knights struck one final time when McKay bursted 73 yards for the touchdown. After the 2-point conversion, the Knights had reached the final tally of 43-6.
Despite their ability to move the ball into Village Christian territory numerous times, Harrells only amassed 154 yards of total offense. No doubt, perhaps, the 110 penalty yards accrued by the Knights assisted a couple of those drives.
The Crusaders rushing attack that had been putting up big numbers was held at bay this time around. Laslo had 39 yards on eight carries while Newkirk had 27 yards on 12 carries. Mar’Chris Jackson had 21 yards on six carries.
In the passing game, Ashton Smith had three receptions for 38 yards.
For the Knights, they tallied 397 yards of total offense as they were forced to punt the ball just once and gave up no turnovers.
With the loss, Harrells drops to 1-2 overall on the young season. They are scheduled to be in action this Friday with a road trip to Trinity Christian in Fayetteville, but with Hurricane Florence threatening, that game will likely be rescheduled.
Reach Sports Editor Daron Barefoot at [email protected]