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For a team that needed another defeat like a drowning man needs another bucket of water, the sweet elixir of victory proved to cure the ailments this season of the Harriman Blue Devils with a 34-26 triumph over the Grace Baptist Academy Golden Eagles.
“I’m happy for the kids,” commented an elated Harriman head coach Travis Tapp. “We’ve fought hard all year, we’ve been banged up, we’re really young, but these kids have worked hard each and every week, and I’m so happy for them.”
The game started off rather inauspiciously for the Harriman offense as the first play of the game was picked off by a Grace Baptist defender, to give the Golden Eagles possession inside the Harriman 19 yard line. Three play later, Adam Tisdale charged through the Harriman line for a four-yard touchdown run.
The PAT was snuffed out, making the score 6-0 with 10:21 left in the first quarter.
After a Harriman drive stalled out on fourth down, the Golden Eagles were poised to soar into the end zone again. However, Harriman’s Chris Works received an early Christmas present for the Blue Devils in the form of a Grace Baptist fumble just mere inches from penetrating the Harriman goal line. Works then rumbled coast-to-coast 99 yards for the Blue Devil touchdown.
The Grant Jenkins PAT was good, giving the Devils a 7-6 lead with 1:01 left in the first quarter.
After trading punts, the Devils again got another opportunistic turnover, this time at the Grace 10 yard line.
It took four plays from there for Garrett Greene to break through into the end zone for a two-yard touchdown plunge.
The Jenkins PAT sailed true and through as the Devils had a 14-6 lead with 4:38 left in the half.
Undaunted, Grace responded with a six-play, 60-yard march into the end zone with Tisdale juking and jiving his way 34 yards into the end zone.
Tisdale’s two-point try was good, making the score dead-locked at 14-14 with 1:20 left in the half.
In the second half, it was Grace Baptist drawing first blood on an 11-play, 72-yard voyage into the end zone with DaeQuan Cross scoring from six yards out.
Again the PAT was no good, giving the Golden Eagles a tenuous 20-14 lead with 6:39 left in the third quarter.
Seventy-one seconds later, the Devils responded, bedeviling the Grace Baptist defense with a three-play, 62-yard drive that saw Lucas Lunsford strike quick as lightning into the end zone on a 27-yard run.
The Jenkins PAT was good, making the score 21-20 with 5:28 left in quarter number three.
Late in the third quarter, Harriman struck again on a six-play, 70-yard drive with Greene finding the end zone and Jenkins connecting the PAT to give the Devils a 28-20 lead with 21 seconds left in the third quarter.
Harriman got their last score of the night on a five-play, 59-yard drive capped off by another Lunsford touchdown, this time from 28 yards out.
The PAT was blocked, giving the Devils a 34-20 lead with 7:59 left in the game.
Grace managed to get on the board one last time with a methodical nine-play, 53-yard drive capped off with another Tisdale touchdown.
The two-point try fell short then Harriman recovered the onside kick and would run out the clock to preserve the 34-26 win.
“This was a big win for us tonight, it sure means a lot for the seniors and our kids coming back next year,” Tapp said. “It definitely gives us something to build on for next year.”
Harriman was led by the running trio of Lunsford (16-147, 2 TDs), C.J. Ausburn (6-70) and Greene (13-34, 2 TDs) and on defense by Josh Phillips (6 tackles), Brandon Presswood (6 tackles, 1 FR, 1 TFL), and Josh Brock (5 tackles).
Harriman will be at home again this week when they host Grace Christian Academy.
Rushing- Lunsford 16-147 with 2 TDs, Ausburn 6-70, Eleam 4-(-12), Roberts 1-4, Greene 13-34 with 2 TDs.
Passing- Eleam 1-2 for 18 yards with 1 INT.
Receiving- Chesser 1-18.