It's been a season full of mostly forgettable moments for the Harlem football team. With a 1-4 record entering last Friday's game against Glenn Hills, the Bulldogs hadn't scored a point in almost a month and waged a weekly battle against untimely turnovers.
Harlem head coach Jimmie Lewis traded in those forgettable moments Friday for game-changing highlights in a 22-14 win over Glenn Hills. The first good sign came before kickoff when Harlem starting fullback Barry St. John ran through pregame warm-ups without the limitation of a cast on his previously injured wrist. Tailback Trey Crain made a surprise return to the backfield after recovering from what was thought to be a season-ending knee injury.
"They had an MRI back on Tuesday and said Trey could play," St. John said. "It made our chances a little bit better because we had more depth."
St. John and Crain combined for 120 yards rushing on 35 carries Friday night, including a 1-yard touchdown run from Crain in the second quarter to give Harlem a 9-6 lead over Glenn Hills. The slim advantage set up the next big highlight for the Bulldogs in the form of placekicker Kenji Link.
The senior nailed his second of three field goals late in the first half from 46 yards out.
The distance was a personal best for Link, whose previous top mark was a 40-yard field goal against Evans in the season opener.
"Kenji kicked a heck of a ball game," Lewis said. "We haven't had someone kick like that around here in a long time."
Harlem took a 19-14 lead into the fourth quarter thanks to a 20-yard touchdown run from quarterback Brendan Gray.
The Bulldogs attempted to hold the lead with a time-draining drive midway through the fourth quarter, setting up the final big highlight of the night.
Facing fourth down and eight yards to go on the Glenn Hills 38-yard line, Harlem set up in punt formation. Instead, senior Maurice Dorsey, standing five yards behind the line of scrimmage, took a direct snap and quickly handed the ball off to a crouching St. John and ran around the left side. St. John remained crouched while the Glenn Hills defense bought the fake, then ran down the right side of the field for a 22-yard gain and a first down.
Link connected on a 26-yard field goal four plays later to seal the 22-14 win.
The victory improved Harlem to 2-4 this season but, more important, gave the Bulldogs their first Region 3-AAA win.
"Nothing matters but being 1-0 in the region," Lewis said. "Now we've got to get ready for one super power after another."
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