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One week after suffering a 41-12 loss at Wartburg, it was gut-check time for the Harriman Blue Devils and Travis Tapp's squad responded with an outstanding performance Friday night in knocking off No. 5 ranked Greenback on the road, 33-21.
“Last week at Wartburg was a nightmare,” Harriman head coach Travis Tapp said. “Wartburg's a good team, but we didn't play Harriman football. We came back Monday and challenged this team. We were physical all week in practice and played tonight like we should. Our kids don't want to go out and play like we did at Wartburg again.”
One player that definitely stepped up to Coach Tapp's challenge was senior RB Dimitirique Inman. After picking up less than 50 yards against the Bulldogs, Inman carried the ball 19 times for 255 yards and scored a total of three TDs in leading the Blue Devils to victory.
“A lot of people doubted us after last week, and we wanted to come out and play better tonight,” Inman said. “Tonight our offensive line blew them off the ball. I just got in the hole as quick as I could.”
“We saw some things on film we liked, but the main thing tonight was that our line was really coming off the ball and winning the battle up front,” Tapp added.
It was evident early that the Devils weren't about to have a repeat performance of the Wartburg game. Harriman's defense set the tone with an early three-and-out then the Blue Devils offense drove 78 yards in eight plays with Inman scoring on a five-yard run.
QB Mark Chesser came up big in the drive as he completed two passes for 32 yards.
Harriman's PAT snap was botched, leaving the score 6-0 with 7:45 left in the first quarter.
Harriman's defense came up big again on Greenback's next possession as Inman picked off a pass to end a Cherokee drive at the Blue Devil 27.
“I thought our defense bowed their neck and made some plays tonight,” Tapp said. “We still got some things to work on, but we did a good job tonight against a good offensive football team.”
After Inman's pick, the Blue Devils put together a 10-play, 73-yard drive that ended with Chesser tossing an eight-yard scoring pass to Inman that made the score 12-0 with 11:01 left in the second period.
Harriman's two-point attempt was no good.
Inman's TD catch sparked a flurry of scoring as the teams combined for four touchdowns in 4:03 of game time.
Greenback used a good kick return to set up a six-play, 41-yard scoring drive that ended in a two-yard run from QB Hogan Goodson that made the score 12-7 with 8:45 left in the first half.
Harriman's came right back with a 77-yard kickoff return from Brandon Williams and that set up a three-play, nine-yard drive that ended with Cole McAbee crashing into the end zone from one yard out.
Tyler Dishman added the PAT to make the score 19-7 with 6:56 left in the second quarter.
Fifty-eight seconds later, Greenback's Richard Seymour scored on a 56-yard run as Greenback pulled to within 19-14 with 5:58 left until halftime.
After stopping Harriman's offense for the first time on the night, Greenback threatened to take the lead before halftime. Starting from their on 39, the Cherokees drove to the Harriman 32 before Blue Devil DL Shaquille Love batted down a pass on fourth-and-six with 25 seconds left in the half.
Harriman's defense came up big again early in the third quarter.
Greenback forced a Harriman three-and-out to start the second half then the Cherokees put together an eight-play, 57-yard drive, but the drive came up empty when Harriman's Tyler Stubbs got just enough of a 28-yard field goal attempt to keep it from crossing the crossbar.
Harriman's offense came back to life after Stubbs' block.
Up until that point, Inman had just 65 yards rushing, but he more than doubled that total on the first play of Harriman's next drive as he broke free for a 71-yard run that moved the ball to the Cherokee 9. Lucas Lunsford scored on the next play as Harriman took a 26-14 lead with 5:33 left in the third quarter.
Greenback punted the ball away on their next possession and their following possession ended on downs when Love came up with a sack on fourth-and-11.
Harriman, however, couldn't take advantage as the Blue Devils punted the ball away on two straight possessions.
Harriman's second punt back the Cherokees up to their own nine yard line, but Greenback showed why they were ranked No 5 in the state as they put together a nine-play, 91-yard scoring drive that ended in a Goodson four-yard run that cut Harriman's lead to 26-21 with 5:55 left to play.
Greenback, however, couldn't stop Inman and the Devils as Harriman answered with a six-play, 74-yard scoring drive that made the score 33-21 with 2:30 left in the contest.
Inman carried four times for 71 yards in the drive. Inman's fourth carry was a 42-yard gallop into the end zone.
Following the score, Greenback turned the ball over on downs before Harriman ran out the clock.
Harriman ended the evening with 328 yards rushing on 39 carries. Chesser added 63 yards through the air as he completed 6 of 10 passes.
Seymour led Greenback with 170 yards rushing on 25 attempts,
With the victory, Harriman improves to 2-2 overall, but more important that the Devils are 2-0 and sitting all alone atop the District 3-A standings.
Harriman steps out of district Friday night when the Blue Devils travel to Jellico.
Rushing- Inman 19-255 with 2 TDs, Williams 9-53, Lunsford 1-9 with 1 TD, McAbee 6-10 with 1 TD, Chesser 3-3, Team 1-(-2).
Passing- Chesser 6-10 for 63 yards with 1 TD.
Receiving- Martin 2-17, Inman 3-41 with 1 TD, Lunsford 1-5.