Going into the week, the Harmony Grove Hornets knew they would be in a defensive slugfest as they hosted the Glen Rose Beavers for the second round of the 3A State Playoffs. Although the Hornets possessed a tough defense to remain in the game for all four quarters, the offense for Harmony Grove could not find any edge at the line of scrimmage or in the passing game. As a whole, the Hornets made too many mistakes and could not capitalize enough for Glen Rose's mistakes as Harmony Grove loses a tough loss at home 28-7.
In the first drive for Glen Rose, the Beavers attempted to get their offense going with some play-action plays, but Harmony Grove was not fooled. The offensive line for the Beavers was creating push at the line of scrimmage against the stout defensive line of Harmony Grove, but it was the aggressive rushing of Beavers running back Dalton Taylor that extended the drive. The Beavers tried to throw the Hornets off with another play-action, but senior safety Jailen Thrower read the play for a Harmony Grove interception.
With the Hornets taken over in their territory, they tried to establish the running game with senior running backs Tobias Hicks and Daniel Hill but were met quickly at the line of scrimmage. After a three-and-out from Harmony Grove's first drive, the Beavers were only able to get five plays out of their next drive. Glen Rose turned the ball over on downs near their red zone. The defense of the Beavers continued to be too much for Harmony Grove as they took some serious hits in the backfield. The Beavers and the Hornets finished out the first quarter by exchanging three-and-outs.
The Beavers took control of the game at the beginning of the second quarter as they used Dalton Taylor as their wildcat/RPO quarterback. Glen Rose was able to mix up the run-option schemes with their designed quarterback runs to throw the defense of Harmony Grove. On this drive for Glen Rose, it was where the defense of Harmony Grove could not take down Dalton Taylor after the initial contact. Dalton Taylor pushed for extra yardage with his tough motor and aggressive as Conner Taylor was elusive and quick to avoid the tacklers of Harmony Grove. Glen Rose established a 14-yard, 84-yard drive that resulted in a three-yard touchdown run from Dalton Taylor.
In the following drive for Harmony Grove, they looked to answer with a score of their own, but Hornets sophomore quarterback Caleb Johnson's interception ruined that chance. The Beavers quickly got the ball near their red zone, where it only took six plays for Glen Rose to get another touchdown. Beavers sophomore quarterback Rein Bland connected with Cohen Carter for a ten-yard play-action touchdown to put themselves up 14-0 late in the second quarter.
Harmony Grove had been in this situation before down two possessions at home to outstanding teams. They looked to come out of halftime with more urgency on both sides of the ball, looking to get some momentum back. After a three-and-out from the Hornets, they needed a big stop in Glen Rose's first drive of the third quarter. The Beavers were threatening to score again, but a sack from senior inside linebacker Tobias Hicks secured the turnover on downs.
The Hornets tried to be more aggressive with their passing offense behind the arm of Caleb Johnson, but the secondary for Glen Rose was all over the place, making key pass breakups. Harmony Grove was able to finally get on the board late in the third quarter when Hornets defensive end Logan McCann was able to secure the interception of a tipped pass and run it in for a six-yard touchdown to lessen the deficit 14-7.
After that touchdown, the defense of Harmony Grove was feeling the effects of fatigue as they were unable to take down Dalton and Conner Taylor at first contact. The Beavers were able to take a ten-play, 54-yard drive for a ten-yard touchdown on a jet sweep at the beginning of the fourth quarter. The Hornets found themselves down 21-7 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but they continued to show a lack of momentum against an aggressive defense that constantly penetrated the backfield.
In the drive for Glen Rose, they were able to take an eight-play, 48-yard drive for another Beavers touchdown to go up 28-7. Harmony Grove attempted to get back into the game with almost half of the fourth quarter gone. They felt they had a chance after Caleb Johnson found his brother Gabe Johnson for a 36-yard pass, but in the next play, Johnson threw a costly interception in the corner of the end zone.
After stopping a fake punt from Glen Rose, Harmony Grove tried to get into the end zone one more season with time not on their side. Caleb Johnson connected to Gabe Johnson for a 16-yard reception, but as Gabe was being tackled, he tried to pitch the ball to a fellow Hornets that was fumbled and recovered by Glen Rose. The Beavers secured their second-round playoff win with two quarterback kneels.
The Hornets felt their passing offense could find some cracks against this highly efficient secondary of the Beavers. A combination of stellar play from Glen Rose's defense and forcing too many big plays from Harmony Grove resulted in costly turnovers. The defense for Harmony Grove was overwhelmed by the tenacious running of Dalton Taylor and the swiftness of Conner Taylor. Together, Dalton and Conner Taylor contributed to 267 of Glen Rose's 305 total yards of offense.
There were several great moments on both sides of the ball for Harmony Grove despite the tough loss. Senior running back Daniel Hill rushed for 30 yards on five carries. Caleb Johnson threw for 10-of-24 completions for 107 yards and two interceptions. Caleb's brother, Gabe Johnson, caught three receptions for 63 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball for Harmony Grove, many impact players contributed to slowing down the offense of Glen Rose. Senior inside linebacker Tobias Hicks accounted for seven and a half total tackles, one and a half tackles for loss, one sack, and one pass breakup. Sophomore linebacker Cannon Booker accounted for seven and a half total tackles. Senior defensive end Logan McCann accounted for seven tackles, a tackle for loss, and the interception returned for a touchdown. Senior nose guard Bacarre Thomas accounted for six and a half total tackles and a tackle for loss. Finally, senior linebacker Preston Hendrix accounted for five total tackles.
Harmony Grove finishes their stellar 2021 season with an overall record of 8-4 by making it into the second round of the 3A State Playoffs. There will be several key players that will be departing as seniors. The Hornets will return many players on both sides of the ball for a big 2022 High School Football season.