By Matt Nestor
The Harlem Huskies could not have been much more efficient in scoring points than they were against the Freeport Pretzels.
In scoring their first six touchdowns of the game, Harlem (7-1) only needed to run 13 offensive plays. They continued with big-play scores and ran away with an easy 74-14 win on their homecoming night.
Harlem got things off to a fast start with their special teams. After holding Freeport (2-6) to a three-and-out on the opening drive of the game, Brandon Rodgers came in and blocked a punt for Harlem, which was recovered by Andrews in the end zone for the first score.
The Huskies’ offense actually got the ball on the next punt, but only needed two plays for quarterback Keenan Kellett to find Tyler Cox open in the end zone for a 31-yard touchdown.
A touchdown by Brandon McShane of the Pretzels was sandwiched between two more Harlem touchdown passes, both to Casey Beck, and only six seconds into the second quarter, the lead was already 28-7.
This is where the Harlem running backs took over.
Senior Demetris Fambro followed with the first two of his three touchdowns on the night. Fambro only had four carries on the night for 69 yards, but three of those carries were for touchdowns.
Jerome Johnson led the Huskies with 216 rushing yards on only eight carries, including touchdown runs of 68 and 51 yards.
“We looked pretty dominant tonight,” Harlem Head Coach Jim Morrow said about his team’s offensive explosion. “We had one punt in the first half. There were too many penalties on the offensive side of the ball. Every week we find something on film, and we try to correct it. I’m sure there are going to be some things on this film.”
Kellett threw for 124 yards and two touchdowns in the game. He felt that the trio of Harlem running backs, including Brian Phomboutdy, who ran for 119 yards and also had 75 receiving yards, was the key to their success. He also said if they could correct some penalties, they could be that much better.
“I’ll say that our running backs are too good,” he said. “They’re too good for our own good. Sometimes our running backs make something happen in the backfield, and it ends up coming back because we had a block in the back. So we just need to cut down on our mistakes.”
For such a lopsided score, Freeport did have some success against a Harlem defense that only allowed 56 total yards the previous week. Quarterback Alex Bennett ran for 52 yards and also threw for 187 yards. McShane caught seven of those passes for 94 yards.
“I think Freeport executed pretty well on a couple of those drives, and they made some plays,” Morrow said. “When people execute well, they are going to have some success on you.”
In other NIC-10 action:
• Hononegah (7-1) did its part to set up a conference title game next week against Boylan, beating the East E-Rabs (3-5) by a final score of 49-13. The Indians did have trouble with some fumbles in the game, but they shut down the East offense, and Forrest Wiltfang and Bryan Rothmaler combined for 190 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the victory.
• Auburn (0-8) scored a late touchdown on a 79-yard pass from Justin Graves to Brandon Newton, but Michael Moorman and the Boylan Titans (8-0) rolled to a 54-6 win to stay unbeaten in conference play. Moorman ran for two touchdowns and threw for two more in the win.
• Belvidere (4-4) and Belvidere North (4-4) played the game of the night, with the Blue Thunder holding on for a 40-37 victory to keep their playoff hopes alive. Marcus Gooden ran for 109 yards and three touchdowns, while freshman Troy Vandenbroek threw for 194 yards for Belvidere. But that wasn’t enough to top Tony Tindle, who threw for 269 yards to lead Belvidere North.
• Guilford (4-4) held on to their playoff dreams, disposing of Jefferson 42-7. Sophomore Dontrel Chance led the Vikings with 86 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The J-Hawks (1-7) scored their lone touchdown on a 92-yard kickoff return from Royce Dixon.
Share your thoughts with Matt Nestor via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the October 21-27, 2009 issue