Two contrasting offenses took to Legends Field Friday night, but Mt. Carmel's lightning-quick electric speed was no match for Harrisburg's ground and pound as the Aces opened the year with a 42-14 win at Riverview Stadium in the season opener.
Mt. Carmel (1-0) got three first half touchdowns and countered with three more in the second half en route to the win.
Mt. Carmel's Zeke Hadra, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound sophomore scooted for three scores from 17, 26 and 26 yards out as the Aces took a 21-17 halftime lead.
Harrisburg's (0-1) lone score in the first half came off a Mt. Carmel turnover that was recovered by Tucker Bryant and punched in when Bryant Lester scored from two-yards out with 1:47 to play.
In the second half, Mt. Carmel went to the air as Aden Gill hooked up with Kyle Kline and Hadra, while the 5-foot-5, 140-pound senior rushed for one in the win.
Easton Wallace had a 17-yard touchdown run for Harrisburg with 16 seconds to play in the third quarter. The 5-10, 160-pound senior running back led the way for Bulldogs with 61yards on 13 carries.
It wasn't the outcome that Harrisburg and Gabe Angelly were expecting in the season opener, but the third year head coach was optimistic about moving forward.
"That's not the outcome that we were looking for and so what we have to do is go evaluate film and kind of figure out who is doing things right and who is doing things wrong. (Mt. Carmel) moved the ball well and ran some things, formation wise, that they have not done before in the past five years. We had to make the adjustment on that and just had some guys out of place here and there. Defensively that put us in bad situations and offensively, we didn't turn the ball over and we didn't have too many penalties, but we had some misblocking assignments. It seemed like that every time we got a guy in an open space and one man to beat, we didn't get him beat. The things that can go wrong did go wrong."
Harrisburg rushed for 117 and threw for 99, while Mt. Carmel racked up 222 on the ground and another 176 through the air.
Harrisburg returns home Friday to play host to Du Quoin. The Indians enter 1-0 after beating Massac County 21-6, giving Derek Beard his first win as a head coach.
Spyder Dann covers prep and college sports for the Southern Illinois Local Media News Group. Follow him on Twitter: @spydieshooter.