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Green Waves advance with win over Devils

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By Goose Lindsay

With starting QB Eric Stansbury playing only defense due to a broken wrist, the Midway Green Wave still found a way to win Friday night as Craig Moser’s squad picked up a 19-7 victory over Harriman in the second round of the TSSAA Class A playoffs.

Friday’s contest played out entirely different than their first meeting on Oct. 19 when Midway rushed for 474 yards in picking up an easy 42-20 win.

However, with Stansbury and his 1,437 combined rushing and passing yards on the sideline, Midway had trouble against a Harriman defense that was determined to play atone for their performance four weeks ago.

“I thought our kids played hard and we’ll take a two touchdown win any time we can get it,” Midway head coach Craig Moser said after the game. “We didn’t think we’d have any problems without Eric tonight, but our timing wasn’t where it needed to be. We didn’t have any problems in practice, but the overall tempo wasn’t the same. We didn’t change anything we do on offense tonight, we just need to do a better job executing.”

For Harriman, the story of the game was turnovers as Travis Tapp’s squad turned the ball over four times inside their own 35 in the first half alone and Midway turned those four Harriman giveaways into 13 points.

“When you hold a team to 19 points you should win,” Harriman head coach Travis Tapp said. “But we couldn’t get our offense going. We got it going at times, but we could never complete drives. We also turned the ball over too many times to beat a team as good as Midway.

“But I’m proud of our kids and how hard they played on defense. We had our backs against the wall all night tonight and our defense kept us in the game.”

Friday’s contest started with Midway appearing ready to roll to another easy win.

Midway’s Chris Barry picked off an A.J. Johnson pass just three plays into the contest to give the Green Wave excellent field position at the Harriman 32.

Midway scored six plays later on a three-yard run from Ray Robinson.

Mark Childers added the PAT to give the Green Wave a 7-0 lead with 7:40 left in the opening period.

Midway’s defense then forced a three-and-out as the Green Wave offense took over at their own 45 after a punt.

Midway picked up a pair of first downs on offense and had the ball at the Harriman 22 when a fumbled snap on fourth-and-two killed the drive.

That’s when Harriman went to work.

Starting from their own 24, QB/RB A.J. Johnson carried the ball five times for 31 yards and he completed two passes for another 19 yards as the Devils drove 76 yards in 10 plays to tie the game at 7-7 with 9:58 left in the first half.

Johnson capped the drive with a four-yard run while Parker Freeman booted home the extra point.

Harriman then forced a three-and-out on defense and took over on their own 38 after a punt, but Barry would again pick off a Harriman pass and his 11-yard interception would give Midway excellent field position at the Harriman 33.

Robinson scored five plays later on a 21-yard run to give the Green Wave a 13-7 lead with 4:45 left in the first half.

Midway’s PAT was no good.

Harriman nearly gave the game away before halftime as their next two possessions ended in turnovers.

Harriman’s first possession ended in a fumble at their own 29, but the Blue Devil defense came up big four plays later as they stopped Midway just inches short of a first down at the 19.

Harriman, however, fumbled the ball again three plays later as Johnson was stripped at the 16 on a Steven Blasko sack.

Midway, however, was again unable to capitalize on the great field position as Harriman’s defense took over on downs four plays later at the 10 yard line.

Midway would not be denied on their first possession of the second half.

With Robinson and Harley Davidson leading the charge, the Green Wave drove 68 yards in 10 plays with Davidson scoring on a 17-yard run.

Davidson carried four times for 33 yards on the drive while Robinson carried six times for 35 yards.

Midway’s two-point try failed, leaving the score 19-7 with 6:53 left in the third period.

Midway’s defense was then the story.

Harriman took over on Midway’s 48 after a nice kick return from A.J. Johnson, but the Blue Devils would punt the ball away after failing to mount a drive.

Harriman then took over at Midway’s 24 after a short punt, but Midway’s Ashton Chinn came up with a big sack to help the Green Wave stop the drive.

Midway’s offense then appeared ready to deliver the knockout blow as Midway drove all the way from their 30 to the Harriman 7, but the Blue Devils bowed their neck again and pushed Midway back to the 14 before Blue Devil LB Jeff Inman fell on a fumble to end the scoring threat.

Harriman would push out to near midfield thanks to a 43-yard pass from Johnson to Dimitrique Inman, but Midway took over on downs four plays later then Midway’s offense drove down to the Harriman one before taking a pair of knees to end the contest.

Midway improves to 11-1 with the victory and the 11 wins also sets a school record.

Midway travels to Carter County Friday night to take on Hampton (12-0) in the TSSAA Class A quarterfinals.

“I don’t know a lot about Hampton, but we’ll have to play the best we’ve played all year if we want to win,” Moser said. “We’ll have to limit our mistakes and we’re going to have to get off the ball. We’ve got to play our game.”

Harriman finishes their season with a 6-6 record.

Harriman Statistics

Rushing- Johnson 13-17 with 1 TD, Anderson 6-31, Miller 2-(-2), Inman 1-1, Team 1-(-1).

Passing- Johnson 5-17 for 62 yards with 2 INTs.

Receiving- Pass 1-14, Inman 3-53, Miller 1-(-6).

Midway Statistics

Rushing- Robinson 25-153 with 2 TDs, Davidson 13-46 with 1 TD, Pressley 14-34, Poe 5-42, Stansbury 1-0, Team 3-(-4).

Passing- Pressley 0-2.