But the Hoyas (2-1, 1-0 Region 4AAAAAA) pulled out the win with a little help from two crucial penalties on the Spartans’ final drive of the game.
Despite that, Harrison coach Matt Dickmann said the game should not have been that close in the fourth quarter. The Hoyas fumbled the ball twice inside the Campbell 2-yard line.
“The biggest thing, like I told the kids, is we have to eliminate the mistakes,” Dickmann said. “When our playmakers start to make plays, good things will happen, but the problem is we turned the ball over twice inside the 10 and still scored 28 points.
“It was a lot closer than what it should have been, but I give (Campbell) credit. At the end there, they were the ones that were not giving up.”
On the Spartans’ second play of their final drive of the game senior tailback Michael Rogers busted a run 68 yards for what looked like a touchdown, but a holding penalty negated what would have been the lead-changing score. Two plays later, Malcom Perdue caught a pass over the middle for a 32-yard gain and a first down, but not before taking a bone-jarring hit.
A penalty for blocking below the knees pushed Campbell (2-1, 0-1) into third-and-29. The Spartans couldn’t convert, turned the ball over on downs and Harrison ran out the clock.
Aside from a 73-yard run by Rogers, Campbell could not move the ball on the ground, gaining a mere 49 yards on 16 carries. Harrison’s defense intercepted Spartans quarterback Ricky James once and limited him to 68 yards through the air in the first half.
Seth Cowan recorded the interception and was deflecting James’ passes all night.
“That is just what he does in the secondary,” Dickmann said. “He is like the swarm of bees that won’t leave you alone. He is that type of player that is all over the field. He makes the big hits, and we just need to keep him healthy.”
James found some openings in the Hoyas’ defense in the second half with a 10-for-17 performance for 152 yards and two touchdowns. But Rogers couldn’t find any holes in the Harrison front seven and had just 8 yards on six carries in the second half.
Campbell coach Harris Rainbow said he tries to get the ball to Rogers as often as possible. The Central Florida commitment, also a standout on defense, added a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and an interception to his 73-yard rushing score.
“Mike Rogers is probably one of the best players in the country,” Rainbow said. “I think people are starting to figure it out. We have known it for a while. I am glad he is on our team.”