For years, the county's biggest football game was between what then were the county's only two public high schools: Harlem and Evans. However, the two teams hadn't met on the gridiron since 1984.
Evans' Brad Freeman charges ahead for a short gain against Harlem in the first half. The two teams played in Harlem on Friday for the first time since 1984.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The dormant rivalry re-established itself Friday in front of a capacity crowd in Harlem.
The Knights began the new rebirth of the rivalry with the same way it ended two decades ago: with a win.
Evans controlled the line of scrimmage, pounding running back Cheng Ho for 141 yards and three scores in the first half.
"The line blocked well and opened up a lot of holes for me tonight," said Ho, who left the game in the third quarter with cramps. "When the line plays well, it really helps me out."
Ho had only two carries in the second half, but Brad Freeman threw a touchdown, his second of the game, to Tim Steflik that quelled Bulldog momentum early in the second half.
"They came out with intensity in the second half," said Jackson, referring to an early third-quarter touchdown run by Alex Hintz. "You knew a Jimmie Lewis-coached team wouldn't give up. We just battled through it."
The Bulldogs had trouble stopping the Knights with nine guys playing both ways.
Lewis said depth was the team's greatest concern entering the game. The concern was substantiated.
"They have a young team, but a good team," Evans' coach Marty Jackson said. "They just don't have the numbers. It is hard to play with guys who never leave the field."
Lewis said, "Defensively, we made a lot of stands," referring to a stop of Ho on a fourth and one in the first half.
"You just can't ask the defense for too much when you don't have a lot of depth," he added. "When we don't take the momentum after a stop like that, we'll have a tough time."
Lewis said he was extremely pleased with his team's effort and believes that teams facing the Bulldogs at the end of the season will be "sorry."
The youthfulness of Harlem may well pay off when the teams meet again next season.
For the next year, though, Evans has the bragging rights.
"It is very sweet to beat an in-county team," Ho said. "We love to play well against Lakeside and Greenbrier. I've never played Harlem, so this one was special. It feels good, even better because Evans hasn't played Harlem in so long."
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