Red Raiders escape Cowboys with 16-14 win
BY STONE LEXINGTON
(Painesville, Ohio) — In a non-conference matchup, the Harvey Red Raiders hosted the Chaney Cowboys on Friday night at Jack Britt Memorial Stadium with playoff implications on the line.
Not only was Harvey attempting to get over .500 for the first time this season, the Red Raiders are still attempting to position themselves for a long-awaited playoff appearance. Ranked 18th in Division III’s latest Region 9 rankings, Harvey needs to move up two spots before the regular season ends to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 1989.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys, who haven’t reached the postseason since 2003 and ranked one spot below Harvey entering Friday night, were attempting to get back to .500 for the second time this season, traveling from Youngstown to do so. It may have been a long bus ride back home for Chaney, though, as the Red Raiders escaped with a 16-14 victory.
“To overcome adversity, and we had some discipline things we had to deal with early,” Harvey head coach Mick Mohner said. “Our guys had to hold down the fort the first couple quarters to get our other guys back in the second half and just the way we were able to persevere and overcome adversity. These are games that we’ve been on the wrong end of way too many times. For us to find a way to get a W is just huge for us, huge for our confidence and I couldn’t be prouder of our guys.”
The Red Raiders (4-3) got off to as good of a start as a team could ask for, beginning the opening drive of the game on their own 35-yard line and scoring in two quick plays. On the first play, junior running back Blaise Collins rushed for 39 yards into Chaney territory. On the next play, senior quarterback Rick Coleman Jr. threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Davon Badley in the end zone. Harvey led 7-0 22 seconds into the game, but the Cowboys answered quickly.
Following a good Chaney kick return to the Harvey 48-yard line, the Cowboys used a four-play drive, capped by a Jace Amill-Austin eight-yard untouched touchdown run, to put themselves on the scoreboard. With a successful two-point conversion, the Cowboys led 8-7 less than three minutes into the game. After a Harvey stalled drive, it looked like Chaney would score again on their next possession, as they drove into Red Raiders territory. Harvey, however, intercepted a pass at its own 3-yard line to take over possession.
On the next possession, Harvey drove all the way down the field to the Chaney 11-yard line, but the Red Raiders came up empty, missing a field goal.
With the scoreboard still showing an 8-7 score at the end of the first quarter, the next points in the game didn’t come until 2:19 remained in the first half. With Chaney driving, Badley, who also plays linebacker, scooped up a Cowboys fumble and returned it roughly 55 yards for a Red Raiders touchdown. After the extra point, Harvey led 14-8 and took that advantage into halftime.
“He’s only a sophomore, it’s hard to believe that,” Mohner said about Badley. “He’s got a lot of great football in his future. I’m excited that he’s here and he’s a Harvey Red Raider, but I told coach [Keon Willis], our defensive coordinator, early in the week, I said you guys are going to have to win this game on defense because they are good up front on the defensive line. They answered the bell every single time. They have some athletes over there. For Davon to show his skill set when they have some D-1 guys, for him to show that skillset and show like hey, I have to make a name for myself too was huge for us, and I couldn’t be prouder of him as well.”
Both defenses were stout throughout the evening, especially in the second half. After neither team scored in the third quarter, Chaney tied the game at 14 with an 11-play, 94-yard drive for a touchdown, scored on a Matthew Jones 14-yard quarterback keeper into the end zone with 5:11 left to play in regulation. The Cowboys’ two-point conversion attempt to take the lead failed.
Harvey began their final drive with 5:07 remaining in the fourth quarter, but the drive stalled on the Chaney 42-yard line with less than two minutes to play. Mohner decided to punt, a decision that couldn’t have been easy. But the decision paid off, as the Red Raiders downed the punt inside the Chaney 1-yard line. After Jones snuck the ball out to the 2-yard line, the Cowboys faced a 2nd and 9 with a minute remaining. Then, Badley made the biggest play of the game.
With 59 seconds remaining, Badley tackled a Cowboys runner in the end zone for a safety to put the Red Raiders up 16-14. Harvey recovered a Chaney onside kick attempt and ran out the rest of the clock to secure its biggest win of the season.
“We’re thinking overtime, and he goes and makes that play,” Mohner said of Badley. “It was almost kind of a shock to us, and we found a way to win. We knew we had to get our hands team out there and field a kick too. There’s a lot of different players, a lot of different guys who really made an impact and plays for us to get a W.”
For the first time ever, the top 16 teams in each region of the OHSAA computer rankings will qualify for the playoffs. Harvey has three games left on its schedule to try to steal a spot, all on the road, starting with Berkshire next week.
“We have to go 1-0 every week,” Mohner said. “We know who we have in front of us, Berkshire is a good opponent. They have some wins. We expect Lutheran West and Hawken to both have six wins by the time we play those guys. All of our goals are right in front of us, we just have to take care of our business and it starts tomorrow getting ready for Berkshire next week.
Chaney (2-4) will host Howland next Friday in another non-conference matchup.
POSTED 10/01/2021 23:54