Harrison 43, Allatoona 19
Harrison took control with touchdowns on three of its first four possessions, then broke the game open in the second half with three scores in the span of six offensive plays and beat the Buccaneers 43-19 Friday in Kennesaw.
Harrison, ranked No. 7 in Class AAAAAA, improved to 5-0 for the first time since 2008. The Hoyas are 2-0 in Region 6-AAAAAA, where they moved after dropping from the highest class after the recent reclassification. Allatoona, the 2015 state champion in AAAAA, fell to 1-4 overall and 1-1 in the region.
Allatoona was opened in 2008 in part to relieve overcrowding at Harrison, which is about 10 miles away, but the schools had never played each other in football.
Harrison junior quarterback Justin Fields was the star of the night, accounting for 348 yards and four touchdowns. He was 17-for-20 passing for 241 yards and a touchdown and ran for 107 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries.
“Justin Fields just did a phenomenal job,” Harrison coach Matt Dickmann said. “We’re doing a lot of read-pass options, and he did a phenomenal job with that. He’s just so intelligent, and he makes great decisions every time we play.”
Fields got help offensively from Darius Clark, who rushed for 58 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries, and Steven Peterson, who had six receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown.
The Buccaneers trailed 21-0 late in the first half but cut the deficit to 21-13 with touchdowns on their final possession of the second quarter (a 3-yard run by Adrian Boyd) and their first drive of the second half (a 16-yard pass from Tate Tatum to Grant Hughes).
Allatoona’s first touchdown drive, which covered 75 yards in 11 plays, was aided by two 15-yard penalties against the Hoyas, one of which wiped out a 44-yard fumble return for a touchdown by linebacker Robert Fisher that would have given the Hoyas a 28-0 lead.
Allatoona had some success running the ball in the second half and finished with 213 yards rushing and 279 yards overall. Charles Anderson ran for 101 yards on 23 carries, and Boyd had 75 yards on 17 carries. But the Buccaneers’ long, time-consuming drives were no match for the quick strikes of the Hoyas.
After seeing its lead cut to eight points, Harrison re-established control with touchdowns on its next three possessions. Fields had his signature drive of the night at the start of the fourth quarter, leading the Hoyas 87 yards in three plays for a 35-13 lead. Fields had a 52-yard run, a 31-yard pass to Peterson and then a 4-yard touchdown pass to Peterson.
After an Allatoona punt, the Hoyas went 45 yards in two plays for their final score of the night. Harrison finished with 437 yards of total offense (241 passing, 196 rushing).
“When we got those penalties and they got momentum, I got a little worried there,” Dickmann said. “But we bounced right back, and I’m really proud of the defense. They bent a little bit, but they held. They’ve been playing great all year and keeping us in games.”
Allatoona – 0-7-6-6 – 19
Harrison – 14-7-7-15 – 43
H – Justin Fields 1 run (Alex Raynor kick)
H – Fields 3 run (Raynor kick)
H – Darius Clark 6 run (Raynor kick)
A – Adrian Boyd 3 run (Skyler Davis kick)
A – Grant Hughes 16 pass from Tate Tatum (kick blocked)
H – Fields 1 run (Raynor kick)
H – Steven Peterson 4 pass from Fields (Raynor kick)
H – Clark 9 run (Cameron Messina pass from Harrison Frost)
A – Boyd 2 run (pass failed)