HASKELL — The Harmony Grove Cardinals (0-1) kicked off their 2019 campaign Friday in Week Zero at home with the visiting Centerpoint Knights (1-0). Despite not allowing a point in the second half, the Cardinals could not overcome a lackluster opening two quarters, falling 17-14 at Sykes Stadium in Haskell.
“We played our brand of ball for a half,” said Head Coach Mike Guthrie. “You have to play two halves and we didn’t play that first half. For whatever reason, our kids felt like we could come out here, go through the motions and beat them. We can’t beat anybody just by going through the motions. In the second half, I think we proved that we can play football, but we can’t just do it for a half.”
After turning the ball over on downs its first drive, Harmony Grove fell behind 7-0 with 4:25 to roll in the opening quarter after Centerpoint quarterback Josh Lawson hooked up with receiver Gabe Doster for a 63-yard touchdown.
A fumble would plague the Cardinals ensuing drive, leading to another Lawson aerial assault, this time a 43-yard TD pass to CJ Fox for the 14-0 lead.
Harmony Grove could not get a thing going on offense, tallying only four first downs in the opening half.
The Knights, however, would continue to add points as Hayden Rogers made it 17-0 at the half with a 25-yard field goal.
Needing a quick start, but beginning the second half without the ball, the Cardinals answered fast, picking off a Lawson pass on the first snap of the third quarter.
Connor Burrow’s interception would later lead to a 5-yard touchdown push from Ryan Riedmueller. However, a failed 2-point try would stall the score at 17-6 Centerpoint with 9:08 left in the quarter.
After forcing a fumble on its next defensive approach, the Cardinals could not capitalize before punting it to the Knights 9-yard line. Pinned deep in its own territory, Centerpoint was forced to punt, but quickly found itself in a dog fight as Riedmueller blocked the kick before Rhett Robinson scooped the rock and scored. A successful 2-point try made it 17-14 Centerpoint.
The Cardinals defense continued to wreak havoc on the Knights as Harmony Grove looked to have all the momentum late in the fourth.
However, an interception from sophomore quarterback Hunter Williams would suck the air from the stadium.
“Sometimes you forget he is a 10th-grader,” Guthrie said of his quarterback. “He is very mature for his age and I thought he handled himself very well tonight. I was proud of him. If that line had played the first half like it did the second half it would have been a different story.”
Harmony Grove’s final chance resulted in an incomplete pass as time ran out.
Cameron Palmer finished with a team-high 59 yards on 11 carries for Harmony Grove. Williams followed with 39 yards on 14 touches. He would also finish 2 for 9 for 32 yards and a pick through the air.
For Centerpoint, Lawson was stellar, going 12 for 15 for 213 yards, two TDs and an interception. He would also be sacked three times by the Cardinals and would fumble in the Knights win.
Harmony Grove will be off Week 1 before heading to Gurdon in Week 2. Opening kick against the Go-Devils is planned for 7 p.m.