CADIZ — “The Battle for Tappan Lake” goes to the Huskies of Harrison Central who won their season opener over visiting Urichsville Claymont 21-7 on Friday.
The first quarter will not make the season highlight reel for either squad as Harrison fumbled the ball on both of its first two snaps and Claymont’s first drive resulted in a fumble of its own. The Mustangs threw an interception on their second drive.
Eventually Claymont went 80 yards in 10 plays on its third possession. The Mustangs faced fourth-and-one on the drive and converted when quarterback A.J. Materna leaned forward on the keeper, broke through the pile and capped the scoring drive with a 30 yard touchdown run. Jordan Powell’s conversion gave Claymont a 7-0 lead at the 10:18 mark.
Harrison Central answered on the ensuing series as Wes Skinner found paydirt on an 8-yard run with 8:44 left in the period. Robbie Davia’s extra point tied it up at 7-7.
The Mustang’s marched down the field and were poised to take back the lead when Ty Kenny intercepted a pass in the endzone squelching the effort.
Once again Harrison Central was able to move the ball.
Head coach Justin Kropka gave credit to his staff: “We made some on the spot adjustments in the second quarter, give all the credit to Coach (Rob) Copeland and coach (DJ) Butler, they made some adjustments after they saw the look they were giving us to our (Wish) Bone set.”?
The second score would put the hosts up for good as Davia found Chad Coffman open down the left sideline for a touchdown. Davia set up for the second PAT but rolled right and found Karto for the two-point conversion pass to give the Huskies a 15-7 lead with 27 seconds remaining in the half.
The remaining ticks would be pivotal in the contest as Materna was picked for a third time by linebacker Travis Butler. The junior linebacker returned the interception to the Mustangs’ 36 yard line with just 8.1 seconds left in the half.
The Huskies could have played it conservative and taken a knee but Kropka decided to take a shot at the endzone.
“Our coaches saw they were doubling Skinner in the slot and leaving our back side single in single coverage,” Kropka said. “We liked our chances with Ryan Davenport, a 6-4, 230-pounder who can run and can match up one-on-one with anybody, so we gave him a shot to make a play and he did.”?
Davia went again down the left side and fired a strike to a leaping Davenport in the endzone to make it 21-7 in favor of the Huskies.
Harrison Central came out in the third quarter and dominated a stunned Mustang squad, chewing up the clock.
In the fourth quarter, the Mustangs made their bid to comeback but once again the Huskies defense rose to the occasion. Davenport recorded a pair of key sacks and an interception by Ty Kenney clinched the win.
Claymont coach Ed Henry took the responsibility for his team’s loss.
“Im accepting the blame as head coach for the way we played out there,” Henry said. “The mistakes we made, the penalties, those hurt us; that’s my fault, because we weren’t ready to play.”
The Mustangs flagged seven times for 60 yards.
Harrison Central outpaced Claymont in overall offense, 298-220 yards. The Huskies had 18 first downs to seven for the Mustangs.
Davia was 9-of-18 passing for 115 yards and two scores. The wishbone trio accounted for the remainder with Taylor Banks tallying 71 yards on 16 carries, Justin Valentine adding 60 yards on seven touches and Skinner tallying 32 yards on 13 attempts.
Ryder Dynes led Claymont with 38 yards on three carries. Materna added 29 yards on six attempts and Jared Kendziorski added 22 yards on three carries. Materna completed 9-of-21 passes for 121 yards and four interceptions. Josh Brindley had six catches for 88 yards.