Edgewood led 24-21 at halftime after the Wildcats’ Gerald Smith returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown with 1:45 left in the second period.
The Cougars came out with a purpose after the break, scoring on their first three possessions to pull away. Junior safety D.J. Whiles had an interception during that stretch for EHS.
Whiles said Edgewood coach Scott Clemmons’ halftime speech had the team breathing fire the rest of the way.
“One great speech,” Whiles said. “He just fired us up.”
Clemmons said his players were simply being “great students of the game and just feeding off what we were telling them.”
“We challenged the boys to go back out and get a stop because we knew they were getting the ball,” he added. “We just talked about being more physical than the other team. It was all about that. I think tonight we did that. It was smashmouth football, three yards and a cloud of dust, and that’s what we’re built on.”
Thomas Lindsay added a TD run for Edgewood, which earned a 456-240 advantage in yards. Teammate Julian Pletz kicked a 32-yard field goal.
Frankie Young completed 14 of 28 passes for 243 yards and three touchdowns for Harrison (2-3, 1-1). He hit Smith twice for scores and Jacob Back once.
The Wildcats were held to minus-3 rushing yards and lost standout receiver Nick Vanderpohl to a knee injury in the first quarter.
“They physically ran us over,” Harrison coach Kent McCullough said. “They pushed us off the ball. That’s what they’re good at. That’s why they’re a good team this year.”
It was 44-21 after Reckart’s 15-yard scoring toss to Driskell with 6:44 remaining. The Young-to-Smith connection found the end zone with 4:00 left, but the game had already been decided.
“That third quarter was huge,” McCullough said. “I loved our kids’ effort and attitude and how hard they fought. Edgewood was just the better team tonight. They executed better than us.”
During the week, McCullough said this: “I just don’t think there’s going to be too many secondaries that we play that can match up with our skill, and I’m not trying to be arrogant when I say that.”
Whiles said the Cougars took that personally. “We were kind of insulted,” he admitted. “That kind of rubbed me the wrong way.”
Whiles’ interception late in the third period led to Reckart’s first touchdown pass to Driskell.
“Actually, all week in practice I couldn’t catch,” said Whiles, who added 103 yards on three kickoff returns. “I just followed it in my hands and saw I grabbed it. I was kind of shocked myself.”
Edgewood sacked Young several times, thanks to the efforts of Quinn Jones, Greg Dingledine and Garrett Gabbard.
The Cougars’ offense was sparked by quality line play and Garrett’s bulldozing efforts with the ball in his hands. He sat out Weeks 2 and 3 with an elbow injury and ran the ball 11 times last week against Northwest.
“I’m back and working through the pain and so glad to be back out there with my brothers,” Garrett said.
Clemmons praised Lindsay (four carries, 31 yards) for his blocking efforts, especially in the second half.
“Thomas didn’t run the ball a lot tonight,” Clemmons said. “He’s been our staple for the first four weeks and tonight he had to take over that role of just being that blocker, which he takes great pride in.
“We knew Devon was capable of that,” he added of Garrett’s performance. “Me and him talked at school, and it was kind of a coming-out party for him. He showed just how physical and tough a runner he is.”
Reckart was 6 of 12 for 112 yards, and Driskell had three receptions for 54 yards. Smith caught five balls for 102 yards for Harrison.
Both teams will be on the road next Friday, the Wildcats vs. Talawanda and the Cougars vs. Ross.
“A couple years ago we went over to Ross as an undefeated team and didn’t execute and do what we were supposed to do,” Clemmons said. “Ross is going to be ready to play. It’s our job to get our boys ready again this week.”
H: Gerald Smith 66 pass from Frankie Young (Kyle Farfsing kick)
E: Thomas Lindsay 21 run (Julian Pletz kick)
E: Devon Garrett 38 run (Pletz kick)
H: Jacob Back 50 pass from Young (Farfsing kick)
E: Garrett 3 run (Pletz kick)
E: Pletz 32 field goal
H: Smith 98 kickoff return (Farfsing kick)
E: Drew Reckart 5 run (Pletz kick)
E: Eddie Driskell 24 pass from Reckart (Kick failed)
E: Driskell 15 pass from Reckart (Pletz kick)
H: Smith 4 pass from Young (Farfsing kick)