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Lake County Sentinel
Red Raiders throttle Hawken 68-28 

(Gates Mills, Ohio) — The Hawken Hawks hosted the Harvey Red Raiders on senior night at home in Walton Stadium on Friday night with each team having differing playoff outlooks. Such is life for both teams hoping to earn a playoff spot in OHSAA high school football with minimal games left on their schedules.

The Red Raiders entered Friday’s contest ranked 17th in Division III’s Region 9 rankings, one spot out of a playoff berth. Harvey found itself in the rankings a week prior, but the Red Raiders fell out of the top 16 spots following a tough two-point loss at Berkshire last week.

Meanwhile, the Hawks have turned their season around after losing two of their first three games this season. Hawken entered Friday night’s game having won four of its last five games and ranked 10th in Division IV’s Region 13 rankings, possibly already securing a playoff berth no matter what happens the rest of the regular season.

Yet, after a back-and-forth first quarter on Friday, Harvey cruised the rest of the way en route to a convincing 68-28 victory over the Hawks.

“I think offensively, we were pretty outstanding,” Red Raiders head coach Mick Mohner said. “Defensively, I think we had a couple of drives where we were a little bit lax, but we were able to end up setting a tone and got ourselves a little bit of momentum on offense as well. I thought overall, we played really well collectively tonight.”

There were fireworks early in the game, as both teams lit up the scoreboard in the first quarter. Harvey started the opening drive on its own 20-yard line, but the Red Raiders threw an interception on the first play of the drive. Hawken took over on the Red Raiders 26-yard line and scored four plays later on an option, as junior quarterback Chris Shea pitched the ball to junior running back Dom Johnson, who did the rest from 10 yards out. The Hawks led 7-0 less than two minutes into the game, but Harvey responded on the next drive.

After beginning the ensuing drive on their own 20-yard line, it took the Red Raiders only two plays to get into the end zone, as senior quarterback Rick Coleman Jr. took a quarterback sweep around the edge for a 77-yard touchdown run. The extra point tied the game at 7-7, but there were plenty more touchdowns to come in the opening quarter. Coleman’s big night was also just beginning.

After starting the next drive on its own 35-yard line, Hawken got its second touchdown game, using a six-play, 65-yard touchdown drive that ended with Johnson’s second touchdown run of the quarter, this time from 38 yards out to set the scoreboard at 14-7. On the next drive, Harvey answered with a five-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a Blaise Collins 37-yard touchdown run that tied the game at 14-14.

The first-quarter scoring bonanza didn’t end there, as Johnson rushed for his third touchdown of the quarter on the next drive from 66 yards away to give the Hawks a 21-14 lead. Harvey ended the opening quarter scoring explosion with a 78-yard touchdown run by Coleman to tie the game at 21-21. The two teams combined for a staggering 42 points in a thrilling first quarter.

The first punt of the game didn’t come until a little less than 10 minutes remained in the second quarter, as Harvey stalled the Hawks offense for the first time. Coleman and the Red Raiders responded, as the Harvey quarterback rushed for his third touchdown of the game on the first play of the drive from 70 yards out, his third rushing touchdown of 70-plus yards to that point that gave Harvey its first lead of the game, 28-21.

Three drives later, after both teams came away with no points on each of their next drives, the Hawks drove 64 yards down to the Harvey 4-yard line, where they faced a fourth down. Attempting their first field goal of the game, the Red Raiders blocked the kick and Coleman scooped up the ball, returning the recovery 96 yards for a touchdown that put Harvey up 35-21, a 14-point advantage they took into halftime.

Both teams scored touchdowns on their opening drives of the second half, but Harvey mishandled an extra point attempt and led 41-28 after the scores. Two drives later, Coleman was at it again, this time returning a 60-yard punt for a touchdown that put Harvey up 48-28 with 6:44 remaining in the third quarter. After a Hawken punt on the ensuing drive, Coleman proved he couldn’t be stopped, throwing a 64-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Tyshawn Vance to put the score at 55-28. From there, following a roughly hour-long weather delay near the beginning of the fourth quarter, Harvey put the game away.

Coleman was spectacular throughout the evening. He completed 4-of-6 passes for 167 yards with two passing touchdowns and an interception. He carried the ball six times for a staggering 213 rushing yards with two rushing touchdowns, while also securing an interception on defense, returning a punt for 72 yards and the field goal block return for a touchdown. Vance was on the receiving end of the two touchdowns, finishing with 145 yards receiving.

Mohner appreciated Coleman’s effort.

“The good thing is we have No. 6, and they don’t,” Mohner said of Coleman. “We’re always going to be ok because we have No. 6, and he’s going to keep us in the ballgame no matter what. It’s the leader that he is and the kid that he is, and it’s outstanding.”

With the win, Harvey moved to 5-4 this season with a real shot at making the playoffs. They may need a win in their final game of the regular season at Lutheran West next week, and Mohner knows the task that is in front of his team.

“We got one more,” Mohner said of the message he’ll send his team heading into their final game. “We got one week to accomplish all of the goals we set out early in January. We want to make the playoffs, so we got one more week to give everything we got and find away to get a W.”

The Hawks fell to 5-4 this season with the loss to Harvey. Johnson finished with 18 carries for 144 rushing yards with three touchdowns for Hawken, while Shea completed 13-of-25 passes for 207 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Shea also showed his toughness throughout the game, carrying the ball 16 times for 47 yards.

Hawken has one game remaining on its schedule, as the Hawks will host Crestwood next Friday..
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​POSTED 10/16/2021 01:23
                                                              Photo by Stone Lexington