Indians hold off Hornets
The temperature definitely made it feel like football season and Marked Tree (2-0) and Harrisburg (0-2) treated the fans to a thrilling football game this past Friday night in Marked Tree. The Indians recovered a Hornet fumble late in the fourth quarter to preserve a 26-21 victory.
The teams traded possessions for most of the opening quarter before Marked Tree put together a 47 yard drive the ended with a seven yard touchdown pass from Blake Daniels to Bailey Gilbert with 1:49 left. The drive was extended on a pass interference call on Harrisburg with Marked Tree going for it on fourth and four. Josh Simpson's extra point was blocked by Walker Hammond to make the score 6-0 Indians.
Gilbert found the end zone again for the Indians with 11:42 left in the second quarter on a 25 yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion try was no good to leave the score at 12-0 Marked Tree. Harrisburg fumbled the ensuing kickoff with Shy Anderson recovering for the Indians. The Indians couldn't capitalize as Daniel's pass was tipped and intercepted by Cade Condra to set the Hornets up around midfield. The teams could not capitalize on either turnover and the defenses stiffened for the next few series. Dillon Russell picked off a Blake Daniels pass and returned it to the Marked Tree 26-yard giving the Hornets good field position. A personal foul call on fourth down kept Harrisburg's drive alive and Malik Versie gave Harrisburg their first points with a five yard touchdown run with 2:20 to go before halftime. Hammond's extra point was good to make it 12-7 Indians. D'Angelo Griffin Daniel took a short pass from Daniels and turned it into a 12 yard touchdown reception as tim expired in the second quarter. The Indians try for two points was unsuccessful leaving the score 18-7 Marked Tree at the half.
Dalton Smith recovers the Indians onside kick attempt to start the second half giving the Hornets good field position at midfield. The Hornets pound the ball on the ground driving down the field before Joey McGill takes the ball in from eight yards out for the touchdown. Hammond's point after is wide left to make the score 18-13 Marked Tree with 10:01 left in the third quarter. Marked Tree had a good drive going before Bailey Weston intercepted a Daniels pass giving Harrisburg the ball on their own five yard line with 1:57 left.
Connor Haag capped a 95 yard drive that started in the third quarter with a 3 yard touchdown run to give the Hornets the lead at 19-18 with 8:48 left in the fourth. Haag added the two-point conversion run to make the score 21-18 Harrisburg. Daniels and Daniel hooked up again with 5:47 left as Daniel took a pass across the middle and hit the sideline going 19 yards for the score. Gilbert ran in the two-point conversion to make it 26-21 Indians. Harrisburg had one final chance to drive for a possible winning score but Versie took a big hit and coughed up the ball with Nick Andrews recovering the fumble for Marked Tree with 2:46 left in the game. Marked Tree ran the clock out ending the game.
"Hats off to Harrisburg, they have a good team and their kids played hard, I thought our kids played hard as well, it could have been anybody's game there," Marked Tree head coach Waylon Dunn commented after the game. "We got down late, could have folded up the tent, but we didn't and I'm proud of the kids for that. God just smiled on us tonight," Dunn added.
Griffin Daniel led the offense with eight catches for 112 yards and two touchdowns. Daniels passed for 151 yards and three touchdowns.
"I thought the kids played hard and did a good job all night," Harrisburg head coach Keith Davis said of his team. "We come out, ran our game plan and just left it all on the field," Davis added.