Last meeting: Harrison 32, Wheeler 6 (Aug. 19, 2005)
All-time series: Tied at 3-3
Prediction: Harrison 10, Wheeler 7
Harrison and Wheeler each played well enough to win their openers but coaches Matt Dickmann, and Mike Collns both saw flaws in their respective performances.
After tonight, one of them will have a 2-0 record.
“Being 2-0 would be nice, but it’s going to have to be earned,” Harrison’s Dickmann said. “Wheeler is a good football team and they have a lot of guys who can get up and go. Defensively, they can run a lot of pressure.”
Confidence is what both teams need right now.
Harrison came up just one game short of making the state playoffs. Wheeler’s season unraveled following a 2-0 start.
But the past is the past. Both teams appeared to be improved but still far from perfect.
Harrison knows it has to be more consistent on offense. A couple of drives stalled as a result of not making plays.
Quarterback Lorenzo Nunez turned in a solid performance in Harrison’s 40-21 win over Pope. The South Carolina-bound Nunez was 7-of-9 passing for 140 yards and rushed for 138 more.
“Harrison is a great club and we know their quarterback is a great player,” Wheeler’s Collins said. “We’re going to have to figure out a way to contain him.”
On defense, Dickmann said the Hoyas must improve on tackling in space.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats tackled well in their 24-6 win over Duluth and managed to keep their opponent off the scoreboard until the fourth quarter.
Offensively, Wheeler took care of the football, and quarterback Ryles Kirkland put the game out of reach with an 81-yard touchdown pass at the start of the fourth quarter.
But the Wildcats know they will have to eliminate penalties, especially on offense. They will also have to win the special teams and turnover battles against Harrison.
“We have a chance to be in the ball game if we do those things.”
— By Adam Carrington