The undefeated Hagerty Huskies (5-0) dominated both sides of the line of scrimmage on Friday night, handing Harmony (3-2) its second loss of the season, 24-3.
Hagerty’s defense held the Longhorns to less than 100 yards of total offense and just six first downs in the game. The Longhorns longest play of the night was 12 yards and its only points of the game came off a turnover. Harmony gained just 23 yard on 16 first downs, constantly playing behind the chains.
It was no surprise that the Huskies defense was good. They came into the game allowing just 21 points in their previous four games and entered a game against a team that has been struggling on offense as Harmony has now gone 12 quarters without an offensive touchdown.
“Right now it’s a combination of several things. We have an inexperienced offensive line but we have also run into really stout defenses in back-to-back-to-back games,” Harmony coach Don Simon said. “We felt coming into this game that we would have to win first down and we simply were unable to do that. Hats off to them, we simply could not move the ball against them.”
Despite the offensive struggles, Harmony was in the game until late in the second half. Two outstanding defensive stops inside the red zone limited Hagerty to a 6-0 lead on a pair of Erwin Eberhardt field goals.
The Longhorns would get back into the game after recovering a muffed punt return and cutting the lead to 6-3 on an Alex Tuyo 35-yard field goal with 4:38 remaining in the quarter.
Harmony would then recover another fumble on the Hagerty 12-yard line and have a chance to take the lead. But three consecutive plays lost one yard and Tuyo missed from 30 yards out to keep it a three-point game with 2:56 left.
Those final three minutes would prove fatal to the Longhorn chances.
Working from his own 12, quarterback Anthony Benjiza would hit Anthony White for 23 yards on a screen. A pass interference penalty moved the ball to the 50 and on the next play, Benjiza would side step a rush and loft a 50-yard touchdown pass to Ian Miller for a 13-3 advantage.
Taking over with 1:35 remaining, Harmony would gain just one yard on three plays and would punt back to the Huskies. Taking over on the 50 with a minute to go, Benjiza would complete passes of 23, 13, and 19 yards down to the Harmony 5. From there, Eberhardt hit his third field goal of the game and Hagerty took a 16-3 lead into the locker room.
Harmony’s chances of a comeback all but evaporated in the third quarter, as Hagerty took the opening kickoff, keeping the ball for six minutes and driving the 80-yards on nine plays. Jeremiah Williams capped the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run and Benjiza’s two-point conversion pass to Jalon Lewis made it a 24-3 lead.
Still, Simon took some positives out of the game. “That is a really good quarterback and offensive line we faced tonight and our defense played really well. Had we been able to score that touchdown in the second quarter, it could have been a different story. We need to put this game behind us and get back to work on Monday because it doesn’t get any easier.”
Harmony travels to Viera (0-6) next Friday before playing a district make-up game against Viera a week from Tuesday (10/18) and then traveling to Tohopekaliga the following Friday for three games in eight days.