By: Michael Hanich Sports Writer
It had been about two weeks since the Harmony Grove Hornets and the Fordyce Redbugs took the field for a varsity game. Both the Hornets and the Redbugs were on bye-weeks after their week one games on August 27th. The Hornets wanted to come into this game fast and aggressive this past Friday night against the Redbugs. While the Hornets showed signs of life with a big comeback, they were short of coming out the road trip with a win as they lost to Fordyce 22-20.
The first quarter was not an easy quarter for both teams. The Redbugs missed a 32-yard field goal in their first drive that ate more than six minutes off the clock. Then both offenses fell victim to the aggressive defense of both teams with a three-and-out.
Early in the second quarter, Harmony Grove found a rhythm on offense thanks to a 36-yard completion from quarterback Caleb Johnson to wide receiver Titus Lockhart. The Hornets were the first to put points on the scoreboard as Johnson found Lockhart for a 14-yard touchdown pass with 10:37 to go in the second quarter.
From that moment, the Hornets only accumulated 16 total yards in two drives on offense until their last drive of the second quarter. After a 49-yard run from Johnson, the Hornets utilized a wildcat offense, which the defense of the Redbugs picked up for five key stops to run the clock out for halftime. Despite being five yards from the endzone, the Hornets couldn't get on the board again as they went into halftime with an 8-0 lead.
Harmony Grove started their first possession in the third quarter with a three-and-out. On the next drive, the offense of the Redbugs found a rhythm of their own due to the solid play of their dual-threat quarterback. Fordyce took a 92-yard drive for a score and a two-point conversion play to tie it up 8-8. The Hornets responded quickly with three plays of 20-yards, which concluded with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to wide receiver Landon Garrett to get the lead 14-8.
Fordyce responded with a long drive of their own for 85-yards, resulting in a one-yard quarterback run for a touchdown to grab the lead back in the Redbugs' favor 15-14. The Redbugs continued to put pressure on Johnson and the Hornets' backfield. After a three-and-out from the Hornets, Fordyce only needed two plays and 35-yards to secure another touchdown to extend their lead 22-14.
Hornets running back Daniel Hill was relentless in the next play, however, as they rushed to the outside for a scoring play of 41-yards. The Hornets needed a successful two-point conversion play to tie the game with one minute and 21 seconds left in the game. Johnson looked like he ran it in, but a holding and linemen downfield calls negated the play.
Harmony Grove was able to get one more drive for a potential of a late-game win. Despite some great catches-and-run towards the sidelines, the Hornets ran out of time for a potential clutch victory.
The Redbugs outgained the Hornets in total yards accounted for 348-to-272, but the Hornets made the big plays when the time was not a negative factor. The defense of the Redbugs constantly blitzed into the backfield as they sacked Johnson four times. Johnson threw for 142 yards and two touchdowns on 11 completions (out of 24 passing attempts).
The defense for the Hornets was constantly in the backfield of the Redbugs as they accounted for six tackles for loss. Defensive end Logan McCann accounted for 7.5 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and half a sack. Outside linebacker Jermaine Edwards was highly efficient in reading the RPO plays in the backfield as he accounted for 11 total tackles and a forced fumble.
After the game, Harmony Grove head coach Ernie Horstkamp had this to say about his team's effort and fight to the finish, "I thought they played great, played with intensity all night long, there's no doubt the effort was there. I'm sure we'll go back and see some things that could have been done better, but the effort was there and just came out with a couple plays short."
The Harmony Grove Hornets (1-1) will face another road trip this Friday night as they take on the Harding Academy Wildcats (1-1) in their last non-conference game of the season.