KENNESAW — Harrison overcame a strong start by Brunswick to pull away for a 51-19 victory in the second round of the Class AAAAAA state football playoffs at Cobleigh Stadium on Friday.
Trailing 13-7 early in the first quarter, Harrison (12-0) proceeded to outscore the Pirates 44-6 the rest of the game.
With the win, Harrison advances to the quarterfinals for the second time in three years and the fourth time in the program’s history. The Hoyas will stay at home for the third week in a row as they host Houston County next Friday.
“It’s always great to practice on Thanksgiving,” Harrison coach Matt Dickmann said. “It’s the thing I enjoy most about being a football coach. Playing at home three weeks in a row makes it even better.”
The Hoyas did most of their damage on the ground, where they rushed for 468 yards.
“(Brunswick) had everybody wide, so we ran inside and when they had everybody inside, we ran outside,” Dickmann said. “We were just making checks, making the plays.”
Leading the Harrison ground assault was Mason Babay, who rushed for 205 yards on 11 carries and scored two touchdowns.
“Mason Babay, wow, he had a night.” Dickmann said. “He’s got a bunch of colleges who like him, but no one’s offered. I don’t know how they can’t watch what he did (Friday) and say, ‘There’s a guy we have to have on our team.’”
The Hoyas were also led by David Roberts, who gained 133 yards on 15 carries and had two scores.
Harrison was stunned on the first offensive series of the game when Brunswick (6-6) struck with a touchdown on a 44-yard run by Ree Simmons to take a 7-0 lead.
However, Harrison came right back on its first series with a 10-yard touchdown run by Babay to tie the game.
Brunswick responded on its next series as Anthony Mountain’s 47-yard pass to Che’querdo Foy moved the ball to the Harrison 29 and set up a 29-yard scoring run by Mountain to put the Pirates back in front 13-7.
That was the last score of the first half for Brunswick, however, as Harrison scored on a 2-yard run by Marcus Bleazard, and an 8-yard carry by Roberts with 30 seconds to go in the second quarter.
The Pirates would score one more time in the second half, on a 9-yard pass from K.J. Lee to Demetrius Lee late in the third quarter.
However, it was all Harrison in the final 24 minutes of the game. Roberts had another 8-yard scoring run, while Gavin Hall threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jay Ziglor.
After getting a safety with 10:28 left in the game, Harrison completed its scoring with a 1-yard scamper by Brandon Godfrey.