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By BROWNIE ROSE
It might have only been the first district game of the season, but the Harriman Blue Devils picked up a huge win Friday night as Travis Tapp's squad picked up a hard fought 21-14 victory at Midway to improve to 1-1 overall and 1-0 in District 3-A.
Harriman picked this win Friday night with a stunningly fast start in the first quarter. The Blue Devils rushed for 151 yards in the opening quarter and scored two touchdowns. Eighty-six of the yards came on a Dimitrique Inman dash to the end zone for the second touchdown of the night.
Midway’s defense may have been on their heels during the first quarter, but they began to turn the momentum as they allowed Harriman only 95 yards rushing in the final three quarters.
As much as Midway managed to slow down the Blue Devils, they couldn’t keep anything going consistently on offense. The Green Wave did score late in the first half to cut the lead to 14-6, but they would never catch Harriman.
After stopping Midway on their first possession, Harriman would drive 65 yards in eight plays for the opening score with Inman scoring on a 19-yard run.
Chris Gibbs tacked on the extra point for a 7-0 Harriman lead with 6:06 left in the quarter.
Midway's offense did click after the kickoff. Staying mostly in the air, QB Thomas Viar hit five of seven passes to move the Green Wave to the Harriman 10.
However, Harriman's defense stiffened and took over on downs at the 14 and that's when Inman stunned the Wave defense as he ran almost untouched 86 yards for the touchdown.
Gibbs again added the extra point for a 14-0 Harriman lead with 25.8 seconds left in the first quarter.
The pace of the game slowed heading into the second quarter. Viar completed only one pass in six attempts in the next two Midway possessions while Harriman QB Mark Chesser was sacked by Midway's Matt Oliver to end their first possession of the quarter.
Harriman did get close on the next possession. The running game was slowed, but Chesser did find Inman for a 31-yard gain to the Midway seven. On the next play, Brandon Williams swept right and was slowed near the one yard line. He fumbled the ball into the end zone and then out of bounds to leave Midway with a touchback and possession at the 20 yard line.
The Green Wave offense took off at this point.
Viar hit Roberson for 45 yards on the first play after the turnover. Three plays later, Viar found Roberson for 16 more then Viar hit Kaleb Butler in the back of the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown.
Midway's conversion attempt failed.
The second half opened with both defense flexing some muscle as both teams punted twice on their first two possessions.
Harriman, however, got things going on their third possession as the Blue Devils drove 60 yards in 12 plays to score their third touchdown. Brian Phillips did the moist damage in the drive as he carried three times for 30 yards. Cole McAbee capped the drive with a two-yard run.
Gibbs added the extra point for a 21-6 Harriman lead with 11:21 left in the fourth quarter.
Midway responded with a scoring drive of their own that cut the lead to 21-14.
Viar hit four of seven passes in the drive with the longest covering 35 yards to Jack Henderson. Viar eventually capped the drive with a one yard run on fourth-and-goal.
Viar hit Larry Risner for the two-point conversion to cut the lead to just seven with 6:53 to play.
Harriman picked up one first down after the kickoff, but would end up punting form the 49 to give Midway one more chance.
From the 22, Viar completed three passes to move the ball to the 50. However, Viar lost five on a sack and after an incompletion, Viar was sacked again for a 10-yard loss. On 4th and 25, Viar threw incomplete looking for Roberson.
Chesser knelt down three times and Harriman had held on for the seven point win.
Harriman would finish with 246 yards rushing on the night with Inman leading the way with 16 carries for 147 yards. Phillips was next with eight carries for 78 yards. Williams started well, but was shaken up in the third quarter and did not return to the game. He had six carries for 33 yards.
Chesser completed only one pass in two attempts for 31 yards.
Midway ended the game with minus 15 yards rushing, but Viar and his receivers made the statistics respectable with 240 yards through the air. Viar was 18-37 for the 240 yards.
Roberson caught the most with six catches for 100 yards. Henderson had three catches for 61 yards. Both teams will be out of district next week as Harriman hosts Wartburg and Midway will entertain Bledsoe County.