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With more than half their starters sitting on the sidelines with injuries, Harriman needed someone to step up Friday night if they were to win on the road at Meigs County and keep their playoff hopes alive.
That someone was Garrett Greene, as the Blue Devil sophomore rushed for an amazing 301 yards and five TDs on 27 carries in leading Travis Tapp’s squad to a 38-20 victory.
“This is one of the best wins I’ve been a part of in my 21 years of coaching because of all the adversity this team’s been through,” Harriman head coach Travis Tapp said. “We were without several starters tonight and lost three more during the game. To be down 13-7 at halftime with that and respond with five touchdowns in the second half says a lot about these kids and our coaches. Not a lot of teams could absorb all that. I couldn’t be more proud.”
Harriman started strong as QB Kaleb Eleam scored on a 61-yard run with 7:37 left in the first quarter to give the Devils a 7-0 lead following the Grant Jenkins PAT.
The rest of the half didn’t go so well as turnovers doomed the Blue Devils. Harriman fumbled the ball away on each of their next three possessions, but luckily the Tigers only scored six points off those fumbles.
Meigs County also scored another touchdown in the first two periods of play to lead 13-7 at intermission.
Greene entered halftime with just 15 yards rushing at halftime, but Harriman’s coaches noticed something on film during the week and moved Greene to fullback in the second half. The move worked as he ran wild with 286 of his 301 yards coming in the third and fourth quarters.
“I’m proud of my coaches,” Tapp said. “They felt we could do some things on the guard trap so we moved Garrett to fullback in the second half.
“Garrett did the rest with the help of his line. He’s got some speed and he was able to out run a lot of people tonight. He now has well over 1,000 yards on the season and that says a lot for a sophomore.”
The switch paid off just two plays into the second half as Greene raced 54 yards into the end zone to tie the game at 13 with 11:20 left in the third quarter.
Harriman then forced a Tiger fumble and Greene scored again on a 16-yard run to make the score 19-13 in favor of the Blue Devils with 9:10 left in the third quarter.
Meigs County responded with a 30-yard scoring run to regain a 20-19 lead midway through the period and the Tigers seemed to have the momentum when Harriman fumbled the ball away after a long drive to end the third period.
Harriman’s JoJo Luna, however, came up with an interception at the Tiger 21 on the first play of the final period and Greene scored two plays later on a three-yard run as Harriman regained the lead at 25-20 with 11:27 left to play.
After a Meigs County punt, Greene broke free again, this time scoring on a 66-yard run as Harriman took a 31-20 lead with 9:42 left to play.
Harriman’s defense came up with another big play when Andrew Chesser ended the next Tiger drive at the Devils 29.
From there it was a heavy dose of Greene. He would break from for a 50-yard gain before scoring on a five-yard gain to make the score 38-20 with 3:14 left to play.
Greene would need to do no more as Harriman’s defense held before the Blue Devils took a pair of knees to end the game.
Greene’s monster night was part of a 430-yard rushing night for Harriman. Eleam was next in line with 84 yards and one TD on eight carries.
With the victory, Harriman improved to 4-6 on the season. The Blue Devils are off this week and will await the outcome of several games Friday night to see if they will be playing on Nov. 8 in the first round of the TSSAA Class 1A playoffs.
Rushing- Greene 26-299 with 5 TDs, Eleam 8-84 with 1 TD, Luna 8-37, King 3-19, Team 5-(-11).
Passing- Eleam 1-1 for 22 yards.
Receiving- Luna 1-22.