Even with one of its main weapons out of commission, Harrisonville still had plenty of firepower Friday night.
Little brother made sure of that.
With big brother and senior running back Jace Reynolds watching from the sideline with an injured knee, freshman Nate Reynolds picked up the slack, carrying the ball 33 times for 235 yards and a touchdown in the Wildcats’ 51-15 romp over Grandview in a Class 4 District 7 quarterfinal game at Grandview.
Nate Reynolds had seen plenty of action before, and big brother is hardly the only weapon in Harrisonville’s talented backfield. And while he may have over 1,400 rushing yards this season, on this night little brother made sure he was hardly missed.
Harrisonville still ran for 336 of its 432 total yards and had two 100-yard rushers, with senior Carson Miller adding 114 yards on 12 carries and a TD.
“I had all week to get my mind ready,” Reynolds said. “And having him talking to me, coaching me up throughout the week kind of helps.”
Harrisonville knew last week that the older Reynolds would miss this game with a sprained knee. Wildcats head coach Kyle Schenker expects to have Reynolds back next week, but to have a next week, he knew the Wildcats had to get by a speedy Grandview team without him.
He also knew little brother had a lot of big brother’s ability.
“We had a lot of confidence,” Schenker said. “We knew Nate could do so some really good things. He’s a pretty gifted young man. He plays older than he is. He was excellent tonight.”
Even with Reynolds and the other ball carriers gashing through big holes early and often, Harrisonville had its hands full in the early going with three lead changes over the first two quarters.
Grandview struck first with Zay’Vion Hueigh’s 37-yard jet sweep touchdown run on the game’s first possession. Harrisonville answered with the first of three TD runs from quarterback Espen Glenn and Reynolds’ two-point conversion for an 8-7 lead.
A 10-yard TD run and a two-point conversion from Ja’Lyne Armstrong put Grandview back up 15-8 at the start of the second quarter. Armstrong scored four plays after the Bulldogs’ Philip Nelson blindsided Glenn for a fourth-down sack.
“The first game without Jace, he’s definitely a big part of the team and it took some getting used to it,” Glenn said. “But once we started rolling we never stopped.”
That roll began with Harrisonville’s next possession, which ended with Glenn sneaking in from 1-yard out and Reynolds running in another two points and a 16-15 lead.
Grandview went three and out its next two possessions while the Wildcats scored on a 19-yard pass from Glenn to Kale Weber and an 18-yard by Reynolds. Harrisonville led 30-15 by halftime and never looked back.
“They’re so shifty and they’re so fast and they showed that,” Schenker said. “We had to make some adjustments defensively to deal with what they were doing. … When we stopped them momentum shifted and we never gave it back.”
Glenn scored his third TD on a 1-yard sneak at the end of a 14-play 76-yard drive, and and Carson scored from 3 yards out just before the end of the third quarter.
Gabe Messer, on another 3-yard run, scored Harrisonville’s final TD in the fourth quarter.
Harrisonville (5-4) advanced to a district semifinal matchup with undefeated Lincoln College Prep, which received a first-round bye. After racking up the yards without their main offensive threat, the Wildcats feel their up-and-down season is on another upswing.
“We’re motivated and that confidence is just going to carry on,” Glenn said. “We’re going to try our best against Lincoln Prep.”
Grandview, in its first season under head coach Dan Joiner, finished 3-7.