Game: Houston County (7-5) at Harrison (12-0), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: First meeting
All-time series: First meeting
Prediction: Harrison 35, Houston County 14
Harrison is becoming known for having different players step up each game.
That’s how the Hoyas like to play.
“That what we talked about at the beginning of the season,” Harrison coach Matt Dickmann said. “There would be a week where this or that person has a big game.”
Having different players step up keeps opposing teams from focusing on Harrison’s top player.
One week it is Mason Babay, such as last week when he ran for 205 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns in Harrison’s 51-19 win over Brunswick.
Another week it is fellow receiver Marques Owens or Jay Ziglor who come up big.
Or it can be running back David Roberts, who has been consistent in the backfield running for 1,270 yards and 16 touchdowns this season.
Having so many players rise to the occasion gives the Hoyas many options should one player not have his best game or to throw opposing teams off.
Babay was not the only one who ran well against Brunswick. Roberts also had success by rushing for 133 with two touchdowns and Ziglor adding 101 yards on 10 carries.
When Houston County visits Harrison tonight in the state quarterfinals, it could be Babay, Ziglor, Roberts or quarterback Gavin Hall that comes up big.
“Well, we can run the football with all three of those guys,” Dickmann said. “The offensive line has done a tremendous job this year without making mental errors. Gavin does a great job making checks, and we’ve drilled that and drilled that all year.”
Of course Harrison would not be making big plays had it not been for its offensive line. Tony Gacia, Cole Simmers, Cole Storey, Reiton Allen and Payton Bumpers have graded out well this year, Dickmann said, which means they are not making many mistakes.
As the playoffs continue, the Hoyas will continue to rely on linebackers
Ryan Smith and Caleb Williamson to keep making plays, along with Marcus Bleazard, who also plays both ways.
Harrison is going up against Houston County, which qualified for the playoffs despite finishing the regular season with a .500 record.
Dickmann said Houston County is playing its best football at the right time, especially on offense.
During the regular season, the Bears averaged 23.9 points per game. In the playoffs, that number jumps to 34.5.
For the year, Houston County allows only 20 points per game.
“To me, they are playing at a high level and hitting all cylinders on offense,” Dickmann said. “They are a solid team and a big physical team.