After sophomore Corbin Crim's 53-yard touchdown scamper less than four minutes into the season opener at Mount Carmel Friday night, it looked like the Harrisburg offense might be in for a big night.
But from that point on, Mount Carmel quarterback Reece Metcalf stole the show. The Golden Aces continued to extend their 7-6 lead from there by ending the game with 34 unanswered points on their way to taking down Harrisburg, 41-6, at Riverview Stadium.
"We didn't move the ball well at times," said eighth year Harrisburg coach Jason Roper. "At times we had penalties, we had a turnover, we had a missed snap because a ball was sweaty. We had the kinds of things that happened because maybe we were inexperienced."
Inexperienced is something that Metcalf isn't. As a junior, the southpaw threw for nearly 2,500 yards. He passed for three touchdowns and ran for another at Harrisburg's expense Friday night.
Harrisburg kept the ball on the ground most of the evening, racking up over 230 yards on more than 50 carries.
Junior quarterback Sykes Thompson did connect on a 37-yard pass play with senior Ryan Luce through the air.
Another bright spot on offense for Harrisburg was senior Jarren Goldman. He missed all of last year with a knee injury, but managed to rack up nearly 90 yards on the ground in Friday's loss.
But some of that offensive inexperience might've been highlighted when Mount Carmel turned three Harrisburg turnovers into three touchdowns, including the game's final score when Aces junior Levi Laws picked off a Thompson pass and ran it back over 60 yards for a score.
Mount Carmel led 20-6 at halftime after Harrisburg was driving in the red zone late in the first half, but turned the ball over on downs.
Harrisburg (0-1) opens the home portion of its schedule Friday evening by hosting Du Quoin at 7 p.m. It marks the start of three straight to be played at Taylor Field as the next road game for Harrisburg won't come until Week 5 when the Bulldogs travel to Massac County.
"It's going to be a challenge for our kids next week," said Roper. "We've got to eliminate the penalties, eliminate the turnovers and the bad plays on offense and try to come out and execute better and control the ball and control the clock."