Harrison Central rebounds at Edison

RICHMOND – It was a great night to be Maurtice Hython.

The Harrison Central tailback toted the ball 35 times for 330 yards and scored four touchdowns – including 230 yards and all four scores in the second half – to lead the Huskies to a 35-21 win over Edison Friday at Cartwright Memorial Stadium.

“They wore us down, there’s no doubt,” said Edison head coach Mike McKenzie. “They didn’t change anything they were doing blocking scheme-wise.

“They were the same run plays we stuffed in the first half. They wore us down, he started breaking tackles, and he was getting more creases to run in.”

With the score 8-7 Harrison Central at halftime, Hython and the Huskies began to impose their will against the Wildcats’ defense.

“We normally wear on you,” said Harrison Central head coach Justin Kropka. “We’re not real fancy. We don’t do a lot of fancy things, but when it gets to the fourth quarter it’s tough to tackle us sometimes.”

They took the second half kickoff and drove 67 yards on six plays. Hython carried the ball five times for 31 yards and plunged in from one-yard out for the score. Also helping the drive along was a 23-yard Rashaen Mitchell to Nate Olmstead hook up paired with a 15-yard penalty against the Wildcats at the end of the play. The conversion pass fell incomplete, but the Huskies led 14-7 early in the third quarter.

After forcing a three-and-out the Huskies took over again at their own 40 and went on a less conventional scoring march.

A 5-yard Hython run was accompanied by another 15-yard Edison penalty. Then a 39-yard pass completion down to the Wildcats’ one was called back for a hold against Harrison. The next play Hython burst through a hole for a 52-yard pick up, setting the Huskies up at the one again. Hython plowed in a play later, and with the Geoff Pecar extra point the score was 21-7 Harrison.

“I thought we did a great job up front despite some unfortunate calls on us,” said Kropka. “Obviously we had some plays called back, but I thought we were smart and responded well to that.”

Harrison’s defense forced a turnover on downs on the Wildcats’ next possession, and the Huskies were again in business, this time from the Edison 42.

Six plays later Hython busted loose for a 24-yard touchdown, and with the Pecar point after the scoreboard read 28-7 Harrison Central.

Edison scored on the ensuing possession, going 62 yards in six plays. Nolan Marcus hit Carter Andreozzi for 32 yards to set up a seven-yard Chris Graziani scoring run. The PAT was blocked leaving the score 28-13 Huskies.

“Our kids were still playing hard, we just weren’t finishing things in the second half like we were in the first,” said McKenzie. “We wore down a little bit, but the effort was there throughout the game.”

Harrison pushed the lead back to three scores when Hython scored his fourth touchdown, this one from five yards out, with 4:19 to play. Pecar’s extra point made it 35-13.

The combination of Marcus to Josh Pasek set the final score at 35-21 on the ensuing possession. Marcus hit Pasek for a nine-yard score and then connected with him again for the two-point conversion. Devan Tennant caught a 43-yard strike on the drive.

“We connected on some passes that we hadn’t been connecting on so you hope that’s progress for us,” said McKenzie. “They were doing some things to take away our run so it was good we were able to take advantage of a couple of deep passes.”

Both first half scores came in the second quarter.

Marcus gave the Wildcats a 7-0 lead on a 14-yard scoring run followed by his own extra point with 10:18 left in the quarter.

“I think there was a hangover with all the distractions we had this week,” said Kropka. “I thought we slept walked through that first half, and when you do that, especially on the road against a conference opponent, you’re getting yourself into a dog fight.

“Give Edison’s credit, they came to play.”

Harrison answered right back with a 20-yard jaunt by Niko Williams. Hython completed a pass to Mitchell for the two-point conversion and the 8-7 lead.

“We’ve been able to do that all year,” said Kropka. “It started with the Wheeling Central game, they drove down to tie it up, and we responded right back with a drive to take the lead.

“Martins Ferry went up on us, and right before halftime we drove down to take the lead. That’s what you expect when you have a lot of seniors on your team.”

Hython’s big day led an effort that saw Harrison Central roll up 409 yards and five touchdowns on 48 rushes. Williams was the second leading rusher with 52 yards and a score on 5 touches.

Marcus paced the Wildcats, throwing for 146 yards on 11-of-21 passing with a touchdown and and interception. He also led Edison with 55 yards and a score on 11 runs.

Both teams play again Friday at 7:30 p.m. with Harrison Central (5-1) hosting Bellaire (4-2) and Edison (1-5) welcoming St. Clairsville (6-0).