After overcoming early problems with fumbles, Harlem High School’s ground game exploded Thursday night in a 35-8 rout of Josey.
Austin Burt and the rest of the Harlem rushers sped and juked by defenders for four second-quarter touchdowns, notching the Bulldogs second win of the season.
“We blocked well and we ran the football well,” Bulldogs coach Jimmie Lewis said. “If we eliminate (the mistakes), we’re not a bad football team.”
The Bulldogs (2-6 overall, 1-3 Region 3-AA) rushed for 274 yards, but Burt was particularly tough to bring down. He outran or outmaneuvered would-be tacklers and, on one big run, found the sideline and turned up the speed for a 58-yard sprint late in the second quarter.
Burt, Dontel Frails and quarterback Trey Price combined to score those four touchdowns in a huge 28-point second quarter. Price scored Harlem’s other touchdown in the third quarter to make it 35-0.
But while Harlem’s offense hummed on the ground, Josey’s was halted whenever the Eagles (1-6, 0-3) threatened.
Josey, which has scored only 20 points in its past four games, had the ball on Harlem’s side of the field on four possessions in the first half but couldn’t cash in, even when a Harlem fumble gave them the ball at the 13.
Vontrez Andrews paced the Eagles’ rushing attack in the first half, but two costly interceptions – one by Harlem lineman Jalen Ramsey – and a partially blocked punt hurt Josey.
The first of Mason McDaniel’s two interceptions in the game stopped Josey when it was most desperate to score in the first half. After the Eagles had two solid plays to get inside the Harlem 20, McDaniel came down with the ball on the final play of the second quarter.
Harlem finished with five forced turnovers and didn’t give up a point until Josey’s Darius Williams found Bart Corley with less than a minute to play in the game.
“We hope this gives us confidence,” said Lewis.