By: Alexis Meeks
HASKELL- The Harmony Grove Cardinals (4-2, 2-1) beat the Jessieville Lions (3-3, 1-2) 27-20 at Sykes Stadium in Haskell Friday night in 5-3A Conference action to avenge for last season’s upset victory over the Cardinals after Harmony Grove was up by two scores late in the game.
“Good win.” Cardinal Coach Paul Calley said. “I feel good about that one.”
The Cardinals received the opening kickoff and started their first drive on their own 33-yard line. Eleven plays later, Cardinals senior quarterback Hunter Hilson found sophomore wide receiver Connor Burrow on a 5-yard touchdown pass. The Cardinals went up 7-0 with 7:27 left in the first quarter.
After the kickoff, the Lions started their first drive at their own 37-yard line. They drove the ball to the Cardinal 1-yard line as time expired in the first quarter. On fourth-and-goal, the Lions scored a touchdown to tie the game 7-7 just four seconds into the second quarter.
Down on their 20-yard line, the Cardinals’ next drive ended on a 5-yard touchdown run on a quarterback keeper by Hilson.
The Lions next possession ended with a turnover on downs at the Cardinal 24-yard line and the Cardinals once again found the end zone. This time Hilson found junior wide receiver and strong safety Sean Small on a 10-yard touchdown pass. The Cardinals took a two-score lead going up 21-7 over the Lions with 27 seconds left in the half.
The Lions got the ball on their 34 yard line and three plays later found the end zone on a hail mary pass to get within seven points to end the first half 21-14.
“We got down there and got the score right before half and I left too much time on the clock,” Calley said. “We got beat deep and they got within seven.”
The Lions received the second-half kickoff on the have the ball intercepted at their 46-yard line by Small. The Cardinals capitalized on the turnover and scored again on a 15-yard run by junior running back and middle linebacker Jake Brooks. After missing the extra point, the Cardinals were up 27-14 with 9:07 left in the third quarter.
The Lions next drive ended in a turnover on downs, but they got the ball back after a Cardinal punt. Flags plagued the Lions on their next drive and they were forced to punt to end the third quarter.
The Cardinals started the fourth quarter with a punt but got the ball back after an interception by Brooks on the 16-yard line. The Cardinals fumbled the ball and it was recovered by the Lions. The Lions were able to score a touchdown and brought the game back to within seven points after they missed the extra point.
With 4:35 left in the game, the Lions got a chance to tie the game after an interception thrown by Hilson at the Lions 5-yard line. The Lions wouldn’t be able to capitalize on the turnover as they committed their own interception that was caught for the second time by Brooks. to end the game.
“We bent, we bent, we bent, but we didn’t break.” Calley said.
The Cardinals hit the road to Centerpoint next week to face the Knights, which fell to Gurdon on the road 31-14 on Friday.