Harrisonville beats Center with strong 2nd half
By Cole Young PrepsKC Senior Writer
When the veer offense stopped veering for Harrisonville’s offense and started turning up field, the yards started coming in bunches, propelling the Wildcats past Center with a 58-20 victory and into the Missouri Class 4 quarterfinals.
Behind 441 rushing yards, Harrisonville never trailed, setting up a rematch of last season’s quarterfinal with Webb City.
On the second play of the game Wildcat running back Morgan Selemaea took a pitch from quarterback Chance Chamberlain and went 67 yards to set up the first score of the night.
Selemaea was just getting started, racking up four touchdowns and 231 rushing yards on just nine carries. More than 150 of those yards came in the second half as the Yellowjackets keyed on stopping the veer option, opening up lanes behind the defense.
“(Center) was flowing so quickly to the option that we thought we could run the quick trap underneath and credit to Morgan, they had guys in place to make some tackles and he just made them miss,” Harrisonville head coach Brent Maxwell said.
Selemaea capitalized on the over pursuit with touchdown runs of 3, 52, 50 and 41 yards.
From the opposite sideline, Center coach Bryan DeLong saw the same thing happening.
“The first half they were gashing us with the veer,” DeLong said. “We were chasing and trying to get over the top so much and then it looks like veer and it bends back to backside. We were just over pursuing and they were physical up front. They were moving us.”
Leading 17-7 at the half, the Harrisonville defense put together potentially the biggest series of the night on the opening drive.
Center running back Norvell Trent took the second half kickoff back to the Harrisonville 15, but the Wildcats defense stiffened and held the Yellowjackets without a score, keeping Center from getting the game to within one score.
Each time the Yellowjackets were able to find the end zone, the Wildcats answered, keeping any comeback hopes at arms length.
“It’s huge,” Maxwell said of his team’s responsiveness. “(Center) had a great year and we knew if we let them hang around we could have got ourselves in trouble. They are athletic and do some things very nicely. For us to be able to counter their scores with scores of our own was huge. We were able to not let it snowball.”
And about that rematch with Webb City, one the Cardinals won last year 35-0, Maxwell says the Wildcats are anxious for another shot.
“They are playing with a lot of confidence and right or wrong they were hoping to play Webb City,” Maxwell said. “They know how good they are and they are up for that challenge, especially going to their place. The old saying goes ‘To be the best you have to beat the best.’”
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