HASKELL- Down early, the Harmony Grove Cardinals came back to take down 7-4A Conference foe Nashville 26-21, moving the Cardinals conference record to 3-2 as they compete for a spot in state playoffs.
“These kids are remarkable,” said Head Coach Mike Guthrie. “You don’t understand how hard they work everyday, and then you come out here to the game and watch them play hard every snap, and that’s all you can ask from them. I tell them, when you play hard like that, there’s such a thing as karma, when you work hard good things happen for you.”
With rain coming down over Sykes Stadium, the game would feature both team’s ability to run the ball. From the opening kickoff the refs showed there would be leeway on penalties as they flagged Nashville prior to the opening kickoff, for delay of game for not having a ball available to play with.
The Cardinals received the opening kickoff, and in eight plays found themselves on the Scrappers 15-yard line. On the next play the Cardinals would fumble the ball and the Scrappers would take over.
The Scrappers would put together a 10-play, 83-yard drive, which would be capped off by a 2-yard touchdown run, making the score 7-0 Nashville with 4:56 left in the first quarter.
The Cardinals’ turnover troubles would continue as on their second drive Jake Brooks produced a 53-yard run but lost his footing at the goal line and also lost the football which traveled past the back of the end zone giving the Scrappers a touchback with 1:01 left till the end of the first quarter.
The following Scrapper drive ended with another touchdown run after converting on a fourth-and-goal to make the score 14-0 Nashville, with seven minutes left till halftime.
The Cardinals would find the end zone on their third drive of the game, highlighted by a 22-yard quarterback kepper touchdown run from Logan Whitley with 1:45 till halftime. However, the Cardinals would not convert on the 2-point conversion making the score 14-6, with Nashville still in control.
The Scrappers would turn the ball over on downs on their final drive before half, as the Cardinals just took a knee to head into the break.
On their first drive of the second half, the Scrappers opened with a 4-yard quarterback keeper touchdown, but the end of the play Nashville was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Paired with the unsportsmanlike penalty, the Scrappers also received a block in the back penalty resulting in the Cardinals getting the ball to peon their first drive of the half at the Nashville 16-yard line, which they would capitalize on with a 2-yard touchdown run from Brooks with 6:59 left to play in the third quarter.
Both teams would trade punting drives before the Cardinals defense forced the Scrappers to turn the ball over on downs on the Cardinals 35-yard line. The Cardinals would cut the score down to three points with a 23-yard touchdown pass with 5:51 left in the game.
The Cardinals’ defense would put the Scrappers in to a fourth-and-long situations, which they would choose to punt with to try and pin Harmony Grove deep with 4:23 left to play.
Harmony Grove would take over on their own 17-yard line, but would flip the field getting to the Scrapper 17-yard line with 1:29 left to go in the game.
The Cardinals would battle their way to the goal line, and on a third-and-goal Whitley pitched the ball to Brooks on what appeared to be a typical goal line run play, before Brooks threw the ball to a wide open Hayden Hilson whose touchdown catch would give the Cardinals the lead 26-21 with 28 seconds left.
The Scrappers would not be able to score throwing a Hail-Mary pass that would be knocked down by the Cardinal secondary as time expired.
“This is a huge win for us,” Guthrie said. “There’s been doubt all year, at the beginning of the year we were supposed to go 0-10. Regardless, this (win) should put us in for playoffs.”
The Cardinals travel to Fountain Lake to take on the 1-4 in conference Cobras