KENNESAW – Harrison advanced to the state semifinals for the second time in team history with a 28-7 victory over Houston County in a Class AAAAAA quarterfinal game Friday at Cobleigh Stadium.
The Hoyas (13-0) scored a couple of touchdowns on long passes from Gavin Hall to Marques Owens in the second quarter, and two more on runs by David Roberts in the second half to clinch the win and a spot in the semifinals next week at fellow unbeaten Dacula.
Harrison’s only other semifinal appearance came in 2000, when the Hoyas went on to finish as the state runner-up under the late Bruce Cobleigh.
“It means a lot,” Harrison coach Matt Dickmann said. “You mention milestones, I don’t think Harrison has been 13-0, so that’s nice, too, but it’s not always about that. It’s just guys realizing from last year that they had a special team and they messed up not being disciplined and focused and we haven’t had that this year. Everybody’s put their egos away and we’re just focused on one game at a time. We’ve gotten this far, so, hopefully, we can get another one next week.”
Harrison’s running attack led the way offensively through the first two rounds of the playoffs, and it was effective once again against Houston County (7-6). The Hoyas gained 217 rushing yards, with David Roberts totaling 114 on 15 carries, along with his two touchdowns.
However, it was the passing game that got things going for Harrison in the second quarter, with Hall throwing scoring passes to Owens of 46 yards with 9:29 remaining in the first half and 60 yards on the next series at the 7:02 mark for a 14-0 lead.
“(Houston County was) going into the box set and that’s the first thing I figured they were going to do, because we’ve been running the ball so well,” Dickmann said. “That’s why it was so nice to get back on track with the deep ball. That’s what you have to do when people stack the box, and Gavin did a nice job, and Marques did a nice job of hooking up. Then, we just kind of went to the old-school stuff and ran some of our double-slot Wing-T stuff, and (Houston County) had trouble with it.”
Roberts provided the other two touchdowns for Harrison, scoring on a 23-yard run with 8:32 remaining in the third quarter and again on a 5-yard scamper with 5:33 left in the game.
Houston County got its only points of the game on Simeon Askew’s 3-yard scoring run with 2:34 to go in the first half, cutting the Hoyas’ lead to 14-7.