The Harmony offense has been a ground and pound attack for the last two years and if the Longhorns are to return to the post-season for the first time since 2018, a pair of senior running backs will most likely have to play a key role in getting them there. There off to a good start with their season opening 33-20 win over Eustis.
Tyler Emans and Cooper Richards both had sensational years last season in leading Harmony to a 5-4 mark. Emans rushed for almost 1400 yards and 24 touchdowns and Richards gained nearly seven yards a carry (78-532) and scored seven times as Harmony averaged 230 yards rushing per game.
“Tyler is simply a phenomenal athlete and a better person,” Head Coach Don Simon said. “He’s so special though, people tend to overlook how important Cooper Richards is to our offense. He can run through or around people, catch the ball out the backfield and is an exceptional run blocker. Not sure Tyler would be quite as good without Cooper there to do the things he does.”
The Longhorns also have a potential standout in sophomore Jeremy Hilliard, who excelled in spring ball and summer workouts. “He has too much talent not be of field for us somewhere,” Simon said.
If Harmony is to make the playoffs, Simon believes they will have to be a bit more balanced on offense and throw the ball more. But he also has total faith in senior quarterback Ayden Parks to accomplish that. “Ayden is a smart quarterback who knows our offense every bit as well as the coaches. Scoring points was not the issue last year and we were a run oriented offense,” Simon said. “But we worked on our passing game a lot this spring and although we are not changing our base offense, I know we will need to throw it a little more this year.”
Kal Amen and Ivan Ramos are two wide receivers that should benefit the most by a more open throwing game.
Although its offensive line lost three starters to graduation, the Longhorns have took steps to rebuild that unit. Senior co-captain and former defensive lineman Jayden Gomez has stepped up to secure the center spot; while massive Michael Capranica (6-5, 345) is a sophomore that has shown tremendous promise this spring.
Defensively, the Longhorns are solid at both linebacker and defensive back – where both those units return the majority of their starters. Dalten Phelan led the team in both tackles (71) and tackles-for-loss (15) and is already getting D-1 offers from colleges. Alex Nash, Brayden Shelton and Nate Butler are all returning starters in the secondary.
While Marcos Romero is the only starter back, but a young defensive line could be bolstered by the return of defensive end Tyler Mcmorrow (6-2,210), who missed most of last season with an injury.
“A few years ago, we started a lot of sophomores,” Simon said. “Those kids took a few lumps along the way but I knew if they stuck together they would have a chance to be pretty good. That time has arrived for these guys.”
Harmony, which has been designated to play in Class 4A Suburban, remains in a district with Melbourne, Heritage and Viera. They will play a solid non-district schedule including Palm Bay and Haggerty. “It’s a tough schedule but it’s an absolutely fair one,” Simon said. “If we play our best, there is not a game on that schedule we can’t win, but if we are not at our best, there’s not a team on that schedule that couldn’t beat us.”
Suburban 4, District 11
- 8/19 at Freedom 7 p.m.* – cancelled due to inclement weather
- 8/26 at Eustis 7 p.m. – WIN – Harmony 33, Eustis 20
- 9/2 at Celebration 7:30 p.m.
- 9/9 Palm Bay 7 p.m.
- 9/23 At Eau Gallie 7 p.m.
- 9/30 Melbourne 7 p.m.**
- 10/7 Hagerty 7 p.m.
- 10/14 at Viera 7:30 p.m.
- 10/21 at Tohopekaliga 7 p.m.
- 10/28 Heritage 7 p.m. **
- 11/4 St. Cloud 7 p.m.
*Kickoff Exhibition Classic