Harrison pulls away from Wheeler in fourth quarter
by Tom Mudrak
MDJ Sports Correspondent
August 30, 2014 02:31 AM | 2234 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Harrison’s Winston Boykin tries to break the grasp of Wheeler’s Tyler Noel on Friday. The Hoyas went on to beat the Wildcats 33-21 to improve to 2-0 on the season.
Harrison’s Winston Boykin tries to break the grasp of Wheeler’s Tyler Noel on Friday. The Hoyas went on to beat the Wildcats 33-21 to improve to 2-0 on the season.
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MARIETTA — Hayden Messina had 120 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns as Harrison defeated Wheeler 33-21 in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Corky Kell Stadium.

After trailing the entire game, the Wildcats were able to close the gap to 20-14 midway through the fourth quarter. However, a botched punt netted minus-1 yard and set the Hoyas up at the Wheeler 13-yard line. Four plays later, the Hoyas scored to stretch the score to 26-14.

“We talk about special teams as number one and that was a big play.” Harrison coach Matt Dickmann said.

Wheeler answered, driving 80 yards in 42 seconds to pull within 26-21. After stopping the Hoyas again, the Wildcats drove the ball to the Harrison 31, before a Ryles Kirkland fumble sealed the game for the Hoyas.

“Our motto this year has been not to come up short,” Dickmann said. “At the end there, we needed a big play and the defense came up with a big play.”

Kirkland rushed for 66 yards on 13 carries and had 212 yards passing.

“Ryles played gutsy tonight.” Wheeler Coach Mike Collins noted after the game. “He’s got a ton of fight in him and I feel like he’s getting better and better every week.”

Harrison struck first, as Hayden Messina punched in the first of his two scores, to cap a 13 play 74 yard drive to give the Hoyas the lead.

Wheeler was able to respond when Georgia Tech commit Harland Howell made a spectacular leaping catch in the corner of the end zone to tie the game late in the second quarter.

Wheeler had the Hoyas facing third-and-long on the ensuing drive, however, a missed assignment in the Wildcat secondary resulted in a 44-yard catch and run by Messina to set up the Hoyas deep in Wheeler territory. Seven plays later, Messina capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown with only 4 seconds left in the half.

Harrison quarterback Lorenzo Nunez, a South Carolina commitment, ran for 136 yards, while Howell had eight catches for 96 yards and a touchdown.

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