Second half rally leads HMS to 40-22 victory

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By Brownie Rose

 It was a tale of two halves in the season opening game of the Clinch Valley Conference between the Harriman Middle School Blue Devils and the visiting Midway Green Waves Thursday evening at Wallace Black Field..

Midway was dominate in the first half turning a couple of Harriman miscues into a 22-6 halftime lead.

Harriman, however, took the momentum away from Midway in the second half and scored 34 unanswered points to get a big 40-22 opening game win.

Harriman piled up 325 yards total offense with 278 coming on the ground on 34 carries. The Blue Devils completed only one pass for 47 yards, but it was a big one that produced a touchdown.

Midway had only 120 yards of total offense with 45 yards rushing on 25 runs. They had 75 yards passing with six completions on 17 attempts. Harriman intercepted one Green Wave pass.

After an early punt, Midway used 11 plays and marched 37 yards to get the opening TD. 

Midway converted two fourth downs in the drive, the second would see QB Jason Taylor score on an 8-yard run.

Taylor's two point pass fell incomplete, leaving the score 6-0.

Harriman answered quickly. A short Midway kickoff put Harriman on its own 40. Four plays later, QB  Kylan Love found Bradley Frost wide open for a 47-yard touchdown. 

Love was sacked on the two-point try to leave the game tied at 6-6 late in the first quarter.

Midway regained the lead midway through the second quarter after a 4-play, 75-yard drive that ended in a 36-yard scoring pass from Taylor to Hunter Mims.

Taylor ran in the conversion to make the score 14-6. 

Harriman seemed poised to score on its next possession, but disaster struck as Midway’s Mims scooped up a loose ball and returned it 95 yards for a touchdown to make the score 22-6 at halftime.

The Green Wave had a chance to add to its lead to open the second half, but they were stopped then Harriman scored quickly as Dakota Kocka capped a 2-play, 69-yard drive with a 62-yard run.

Love scored the two points to cut the lead to 22-14.

Harriman’s defense set up the next score as Eli McAbee returned a fumble 35 yards to the Midway 10-yard line. 

Ja’Zine Pelcher scored on the next play, and Kocka ran in the  conversion to tie the game at 22.

After a short Midway punt, Pelcher scored again from 32 yards out, but the two-point try failed, leaving Harriman up, 28-22.

Midway was snake bit at this point. On the second play after the kickoff, Taylor was intercepted by Harriman’s Michael Green Jr.

Kocka scored on a 35-yard run on the next play to put the Blue Devils up 34-22 with 1:30 left in the third quarter.

Midway tried to answer as Taylor completed a pair of passes that covered 40 yards, but the drive stalled with Harriman taking over on downs at its own 41.

Harriman needed three plays to score their last touchdown of the night. Pelcher gained 26 on first down then Kocka scored two plays later on a 32-yard run to make the final score 40-22.

Kocka ran for 169 yards for Harriman and two touchdowns on 13 carries. Pelcher gained 107 yards on 13 carries and scored three TDs. 

Derek Littleton had eight runs for 30 yards for Midway. Taylor gained 17 yards on 15 carries and scored a touchdown. Taylor was 6-for-17 for 75 yards with one TD and one interception.

Harriman will visit Rockwood next Thursday for a conference and county match-up.

Midway opens the home schedule Monday with visiting Jacksboro Middle. Thursday they host Wartburg in a conference game.