The much anticipated high school football season gave fans a preview on Tuesday night at F.S. Garrison Stadium. The Harrison Goblins matched talents with the Rogers Mounties of the 7A-West for a preseason game.
The Goblins trailed the majority of the game but were able to put the final points on the scoreboard to finish with a 35-30 edge.
“I didn’t have any surprises,” Harrison head coach Joel Wells commented about the preseason game. “We’re still in the evaluation period of who can play and who can’t play. We got a lot of good film and we’ll move on from here. We’re just gonna have to make some plays and we’re looking for guys who can do that.”
Senior quarterback Logan Plumlee started the game under center and concluded the first drive of the game with a long pass to fellow senior Dylan Block that put the ball in the end zone. Brock Bardwell split the uprights to end the possession.
“I thought Plumlee threw the ball well and we caught well and protected well,” Wells commented. “I thought we did some nice things on offense and showed some bright spots.”
Harrison’s next possession resulted in a punt and Rogers took advantage of that opportunity to score 14 unanswered points.
“We didn’t tackle very well but we haven’t seen that kind of speed lately,” the coach commented on his defense. “We’ve got guys who haven’t tackled anybody in a long time. We have to improve. We couldn’t get them off the field on fourth down.”
At the end of the first period, Rogers was holding onto a 14-7 advantage and both teams stayed aggressive with a pair of touchdowns each.
Junior Beck Jones scored both times for the Goblins with a downhill running attack while Bardwell stayed perfect with the PAT’s.
Rogers took a 27-21 lead into halftime after picking a pass in the closing minutes.
“We gave up some big plays and they are things that we can correct for sure,” Wells mentioned. “We rolled through over 40 guys in the first half. We left a lot on the table. There were some missed passes and we dropped a couple. That’s preseason football.”
Not to mention the yellow flags that were being thrown early.
“That was a little nerves,” the coach noted of the penalties. “We kinda settled down after the first couple of series and then settled in. We jumped offside and gave a first down on one and then stopped ourselves on a motion call. It’s just some things that we will address and get fixed.”
The clock rolled in the second half and the Goblins were able to move the ball past the goal line on two occasions while limiting Rogers to a field goal.
Sophomore Braden Long scored both touchdowns in the second half and Brodey Burge took on the kicking duties for the extra points.
“I thought we kicked it well,” Wells noted of special teams. “It was kind of a dead kicking game. We also didn’t have to cover any on kickoffs so there’s still a lot to learn there.”
Harrison’s first game of the season will take place on the road when they travel to Magnolia for a 7 p.m. kickoff on Aug. 27.
“Magnolia is probably as talented as anybody in Arkansas in Class 5A,” Wells concluded. “They have a big back. They scored 74 points on Greenbrier in the playoffs and started 12 sophomores. They will be a big challenge and we’ll be ready.”