Raw Sports

HARRISBURG edges Coatesville in Highly Anticipated season opener by: Tyler Harden

COATESVILLE—The matchup between the 2018 6A State Runner-Up, the Harrisburg Cougars, and the Coatesville Red Raiders, who lost in the 6A State Semifinals last year, was one of the premier games for Week 1 of the 2019 season. 

Harrisburg came in with two quarterbacks, Nicari Williams and John McNeil, who took turns alternating possessions. McNeil, a junior, started the game. The first half was very low scoring. Both teams had many penalties that were interrupting their drives. Harrisburg was the first to put points on the board in the final minute of the second quarter with a Nicari Williams five yard touchdown pass to Trevion Carey (John McNeil PAT).

Harrisburg was able to score again in the third quarter, as John McNeil completed a twelve yard touchdown pass to Kamere Day (John McNeil PAT).

The fourth quarter was important for Coatesville, as they needed a big drive to start a comeback. Villanova Commit, Dapree Bryant, gave the Red Raiders the opportunity they needed with a forty-six yard punt return that brought them to the Harrisburg six yard line. A few plays after that, Villanova Commit, Ricky Ortega, was able to run in for a six yard touchdown. However, a bad snap resulted in a missed extra point. “I want to become a better leader.” Ricky Ortega said, “I want all my teammates to trust in me, and I just want everyone to rally.”

All Harrisburg had to do was run out the clock. Harrisburg was facing a fourth down on the Coatesville fourty-one yard line with less than four minutes in the game. A clutch, sixteen yard fake punt by Trevion Carey secured a 14-6 win in the season opener. If Carey had not decided to run the ball after only needing eight yards for a first down, the result in the game could have been much different.

Last year Harrisburg was in the same situation Coatesville is in now. “We went down to Severance Field and beat them by thirty-one”, Ortega said, “They rallied, they won their next nine games, they played in the state semis, and I feel like we’re capable of that.” Harrisburg beat the Red Raiders in the 6A State Semifinals last year. “I want to win my team a state championship”, Ortega said, “I fell short two years in a row so I want to get over that hump.”

Harrisburg starts the season at 1-0, and they get set to play at Archbishop Hoban in Akron, Ohio next Saturday, August 31st, at 12 P.M. Coatesville falls to 0-1, and they head into a bye week. They play at Cumberland Valley next on Friday, September 6th, at 7 P.M.