There’s a twitter hash tag that the guys on the Harrisburg football team like to use: When the suns out, the guns come out.
The Bulldogs’ Dylan Hathaway donned a cutoff t-shirt to show off some muscle in abnormally cold weather, in pre game against Benton Friday night.
However, the senior quickly heated up, scoring a pair of strong touchdowns to help the Bulldogs claim their second outright conference championship in the past three seasons, rocking the Rangers to the tune of a 20-7 beat down at Taylor Field.
But the Bulldogs more than just out muscled Benton. Harrisburg showed a lot of heart and soul in the win as well.
Jordan Quertermous broke his hand earlier in the week and all expectations were for the senior starting center to miss Friday night’s conference title tilt.
Except if you’re Quertermous.
He traveled to Herrin Friday morning, had surgery and returned to town in time to suit up and play a part in one of Harrisburg’s most popular and prolific wins of the year.
“He snapped the ball with his left hand … all night,” head coach Jason Roper said. “I don’t know how he did it, but he did it and he overcame some adversity and you love it when you can coach kids like that.”
That man that Quertermous snaps to - senior quarterback Ryne Roper - more than echoed his coaches sentiments.
“We came out this week on Monday with a couple of guys that were banged up or injured. On Tuesday, Q breaks his hand, but instead of calling it quits for the season, goes to Herrin to have surgery and comes back to play (Friday night). That’s incredible. He snapped the ball left handed all game and didn’t mess up one snap. Dakota Upchurch moving to left tackle and playing like an absolute man is another piece to the puzzle we didn't‘t expect. We overcame a lot of adversity tonight and the unit we had, we didn’t think it was one that we were going to be lining up with on Tuesday.”
As for Hathaway, he finished with 230 yards on 35 carries as Harrisburg ran for 298 yards on the ground.
Hathaway scored twice in the first half as the Bulldogs built the 20-7 final, one of Hathaway’s scores came from 67 yards as he plowed and planted his way through and over would-be Rangers en route to the score.
“Tremendous” was the word Jason Roper used to describe Hathaway’s performance, calling the bowling ball fullback a throwback to some of Harrisburg’s past.
Page 2 of 3 - “He’s just a load to tackle,” Roper said. For the most part, he kept churning and he’s one of the throwbacks to the fullbacks we have had in the past. “
Roper also gave credit to an offensive line that helped pave the way for nearly 300 yards on the ground.
The Bulldogs limited the Rangers to just one score. As a team, the Rangers who came in 7-0 were averaging 35 points per game, but were held to just 136 yards on the ground and 74 in the air.
“Our offensive line played great. I thought our defense played great as well,“ Roper said. “Maybe we gave up one big play there and a couple of penalties that gave Benton an opportunity to execute. Give Benton credit, they’re a good team and we played some good football all year and some good football teams. One thing I will say about our kids is they have really done a nice job of preparing, staying focused and coming out and taking care of the task at hand.
“This is a win that these guys and especially these seniors need to enjoy with their parents because a lot of their parents have been with them for all four years here. They need to enjoy this moment as conference champs.
Michael Dann can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @spydieshooter.
Benton 00 07 00 00 - 07
Harrisburg 06 14 00 00 - 20
HBG - Henshaw 14 pass from Roper (kick failed), 1:47
HBG - Hathaway 67 run (run failed), 9:53
BEN - Buntin 36 run (Owens kick), 7:36
HBG - Hathaway 3 run (Hathaway run), :038
First Downs 11 21
Rushes-Yards 31-136 59-298
Passing 74 54
Comp-Att-Int 4-9-1 4-4-0
Page 3 of 3 - Fumbles Lost 1 1
Penalities-Yards 5-25 3-40
RUSHING: BEN - Sheeks 13-67, Buntin 14-64, Calli 2-2, Owens 2-3. HBG - Hathaway 35-230, Henshaw 13-41, Younger 5-22, Bebout 4-5.
PASSING: BEN - Buntin 4-9-1-74. HBG - Roper 4-4-0-54.
RECEIVING: BEN - Owens 2-43, Sheeks 1-25, Higgins 1-6. HBG - Henshaw 3-45, Oglesby 1-9.