The Harmony Longhorns (6-4) will travel to Vero Beach (9-1), weather permitting, after grabbing one of four at-large playoff spots in the first round of Class 4 Region 3 post season play.
“I’m just happy for these guys. They come out every week and work no matter what happens. It was a brutal season against great opponents, and we came out with a winning record and a chance to go further. It’s proof positive that hard work pays off,” Harmony Head Coach Don Simon said after hearing his Longhorns got the 8th playoff spot and would be heading to Vero Beach to take on the 9-1 Indians Friday at 7pm.
The Indians are coming off a 10-7 win over Treasure Coast, while the Longhorns took back “ownership” of the coveted Brass Bugle Trophy after dominating local rival St. Cloud High School last Friday 44-0.
Harmony earned their way into the playoffs with a 44-0 win over St. Cloud in the Soldier City Classic rivalry game on Friday night. The win pushed the Longhorns up the rankings just enough to secure the eighth and final spot in that region where they will play traditional power and #1 seed Vero Beach (9-1) on Friday.
In that St. Cloud game, running back Tyler Emans rushed for 254 yards and two touchdowns. The defense only allowed 58 yards of total offense as the Longhorns controlled all phases of the game from start to finish.
After a lackluster 35-3 district loss to Viera which dropped them to third place in the district, it appeared the Longhorns post-season hopes were dashed. But the combination of the St. Cloud win to get to 6-4 and Jacksonville Sandalwood’s upset of Spuce Creek was enough to push Harmony to the eighth place seed in Region 3.
“Just so incredibly happy for my players, especially my seniors,” Longhorns coach Don Simon said. “We could have packed it in after the Viera loss, but our kids came out focused and ready to play against St. Cloud and now we have returned to the playoffs and earned at least one more game.”
“Playing Vero Beach, especially on the road, will be a tall order but we will give it our best shot,” Simon added. “Our message to our team will be that most high school teams are sitting at home this week, we still have an opportunity to keep playing.”
The Longhorns are certainly underdogs going against Vero Beach, but Coach Simon and his staff are capable of crafting a game plan that will make it possible for his gritty Longhorns to surprise the Indians on the East coast. Good luck to Harmony! Go Longhorns!