Harris powers Bobcat comeback with 247 total yards
A lightning-quick Highland Rebel football team used a special defense and great team speed to race out to a 14-0 lead at halftime last Friday night at Bobcat stadium, but it was the home team that powered up in the second half to score 28 points for a 28-20 non-conference victory.
"Highland's speed was there, and they had some determined backs," Bobcat head coach Carl Owens said. "They put in a special defense for us, as most teams do, and it takes a while to adjust. We talked at half, and finally tuned in on their shifts and positioning.
"We went for a fourth-and-two early and didn't get it, and Highland got up mentally on us. They played hard, but in the fourth quarter, we looked like the better conditioned team. We did some positive things and got up, and they were down then."
When the Bobcats (2-0-1) went for that fourth down play on their first possession and failed, Highland's quarterback, Brian Barnes, then engineered a scoring drive that put six on the scoreboard when Brett Strobbe strolled in from the 10 at 4:47 of the first quarter to make it 7-0.
Corey Roberts had a great return on the kickoff, but fumbled and Highland took over at the Bobcat 38. They scored from the 29 at 4:21 and suddenly it was 14-0, Highland, and the first quarter wasn't over.
But the Bobcat defense began to rise up, with Keeton Evans recovering a fumble at 8:14 of the second quarter. The teams swapped punts, then Highland drove to the Bobcats 6-yard line and was stopped. They tried a field goal on fourth-and-six which failed.
The final momentum swing came just before the halftime buzzer when Bobcat Joseph Harris intercepted a Barnes pass at the goal line and ran 65 yards to the Highland 35 as time ran out.
Harris went wild the second half, scoring twice and ending the night with 247 all purpose yards of offense. He had a 44-yard punt return, ran 65 yards off an interception, and had a 70-yard reception on a screen pass for a score. Harris had 20 carries for 131 yards rushing and ignited a big Bobcat crowd with his efforts.
"Joseph always plays hard and gets the job done," Coach Owens said. "He works at it. We also got good runs out of Corey Roberts, Michael Johnson and Justin Summers at key times."
Owens said Johnson carried 5 times for 25 yards, Roberts 4 for 49 and a 2-point conversion, and Summers 2 for 9 yards and a touchdown.
Shawn Ramson was credited with 12 tackles, Powell 11, Harris 8, Chance Biggerstaff 6, Roberts 5, and Evans 4, including a sack and fumble recovery.
When the second half started it took Highland just four plays to score, with Aaron Culver punching it in for the Rebels at 9:50 to make it 20-0 for the guests.
But the Bobcat offense had adjusted, and quarterback Steven Trulove hit tight end Derek Powell for a 15-yard pass play to start. Michael Johnson had a big run to the 17, then Harris drove to the one. Harris scored with 7:04 to go, and the comeback was on at 20-6.
The teams traded punts, then at 11:11 of the fourth quarter, Trulove got a screen pass to Harris, who raced 70 yards for another touchdown to make it 20-12.
The Bobcat defense was now manhandling the once-proud Rebel offense and forced another punt. Harris immediately raced 45 yards from the Bobcat 15 to the Highland 45 with 6:46 to go, Corey Roberts ran 35 yards to the five, and Justin Summers scored with 5:30 to play.
Roberts added a 2-point conversion, and the game was tied, 20-20, and the Bobcat crowd was going wild. Highland helped out, as their kicker fumbled the snap when another punt was forced, and Berryville recovered at Highland's 31 with 4:01 to play.
Harris ran to the 17, Roberts to the seven, and Harris scored on the team's third play with 2:50 left in the game. Roberts added another 2-point conversion, and the final 28-20 had been reached.
Evans recorded a big sack on Highland's Barnes as the Rebels desperately tried to score, but Roberts intercepted a last-second pass, and this one was history.
Berryville faces the Gravette Lions at Gravette this Friday in their first 1AAA conference action. Gravette beat Subiaco Academy 35-7 last Friday night.