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By David Sharp
Harrisburg senior Wyatt Robinson rushed 34 times for 289 unofficial yards and scored five Bulldog touchdowns during Week 5 varsity football play at Harrisburg. The Bulldogs (3-2, 3-1) scored 28 second quarter points on the way to a 42-8 victory over Knox County.
The Bulldogs won the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football. Wyatt Robinson scored three second quarter touchdowns beginning with a 28 yard dash with 10:48 to play in the quarter.
The first period was scoreless. Austin Jansen recovered a Harrisburg fumble on the 11 yard line early in the game. The Eagles were unable to take advantage of their opportunity and turned the ball over on downs at the original line of scrimmage.
Harrisburg drove to the Knox County red zone, only to see quarterback Tanner Lanes flagged for throwing a touchdown pass while across the line of scrimmage. Not only did the penalty take a touchdown off the board, the play resulted in a loss of down.
Knox County (1-3, 1-2) wrested the football back on downs. Knox County could not move the ball and punted. Wyatt Robinson raced 35 yards near the close of the first quarter.
Harrisburg’s defense and special teams kept the Eagles bottled up in their end of the field most of the game. Wyatt Robinson gave his team a 22-0 lead when he rambled 57 yards for a touchdown at the 3:38 mark of the second quarter.
Braydon Ott intercepted a Knox County pass and returned the football 55 yards for a Harrisburg touchdown with 2:37 to play in the first half. Harrisburg forced a KCHS punt with 2:33 remaining.
The Bulldogs went for the kill with about two minutes to play until halftime. To their credit, Knox County responded with their best football of the night. Coltin Morrow intercepted a pass around his 20 yard line and returned the football back to the original line of scrimmage.
Branson Miller capped a 44 yard drive, catching a nine yard touchdown pass with 38 seconds to play in the first half. Hayes passed to Elliott Ogden for the two point conversion and a 28-8 halftime deficit.
Knox County competed despite the lopsided score. Braxton McCurren executed an onside kick after the Eagle touchdown and recovered the football.
Harrisburg showed why they drew votes in the opening Class 1 Media polls. The teams that have defeated Harrisburg were both ranked in the top ten. Milan was ranked fourth in Class 1 and Westran came out with the sixth ranking. Both teams won this week and are currently undefeated with a 5-0 overall record.
“I know he ran really hard and they blocked well,” Harrisburg coach Steve Hopkins said about Wyatt Robinson’s five touchdown, 289 yard night. “Our defense stepped up. We ran a fake punt and all of a sudden they had the ball on our 40 yard line. I made some stupid calls and they covered me.”
“That’s the best Tanner Fike has kicked in terms of location and kicking deep. We didn’t want to defend short fields. (Branson Miller) is an explosive player. We didn’t want to kick the ball to him.”
“We knew they would make yards. They are a very good team,” Coach Hopkins said of the Eagles. “We didn’t think they could break through if we could make them drive the full field. That’s what we were very good at tonight.”
The Bulldogs outgained Knox County 244-70 on the ground in the first half. Knox County came back with a 67-18 passing yard edge. Harrisburg had a 12-8 first half edge in first downs and a 262-137 yard advantage from scrimmage.
“I thought we started really well. When we came out and did what we said and see if we could block them off the ball,” Steve Hopkins said. “That’s where we thought we had an advantage.”
“We have a great running back. We have a pair of really good fullbacks. We have a great pair of tight ends. We just tried to make it that kind of a game,” Coach Hopkins said.
“If we hadn’t got greedy near halftime and gave them a short field. To their credit they scored,” Steve Hopkins said. “They battled hard. They just don’t have enough depth. But they battle extremely hard.”
“Our kids were very impressed, and respectful of how hard they play,” Coach Hopkins said. “We just felt like tonight we had more depth. We felt like our advantage was along the offensive line and in our running game.”
Harrisburg took the second half kickoff and scored. Wyatt Robinson capped a 55 yard drive with a one yard plunge at the 7:37 mark of the third quarter. The two point pass failed leaving the Bulldogs up 34-8.
Solid defensive play was shown on both sides in the second half. Seven consecutive possessions resulted in a punt or the football being turned over on downs. Harrisburg blocked a Knox County punt on the Eagle 16 yard line.
Wyatt Robinson closed the scoring with a three yard touchdown run with 3:43 remaining in the game. The two point conversion set the final score at 42-8 in favor of Harrisburg.
Knox County wound up outgained 335-158 yards rushing as a team. Elliott Ogden led Knox County in rushing with 12 carries for 71 yards. Keaton Strange was 9-53 yards rushing Conner Hayes carried five times for 31 yards.
Big plays helped power Harrisburg to victory. The Bulldogs held an 18-12 first down advantage overall. Knox County had 34 rushing attempts for 158 yards. Conner Hayes completed nine of 21 passes for 81 yards. Hayes tossed a touchdown pass and had one interception against.
Knox County had five penalties for 30 yards unofficially. Branson Miller had five receptions for 51 yards to lead KCHS receivers. Harrisburg held a 353-239 advantage in total yards from scrimmage.
The Bulldogs had two penalties for 15 yards. Tanner Lanes was 1-6 passing for 18 yards with the Coltin Morrow interception. Harrisburg recorded two quarterback sacks on the night.
“Physically we got outmatched up front,” Knox County coach Bruce Vannoy said. “Offensively, we weren’t aggressive. We were going the right way on the defensive side. They were able to get some edges on us.”
“(Wyatt Robinson) is a great player,” Bruce Vannoy said. “He was able to get some seams on us. He was able to take it to the house quite a few times. We did a lot more catching blocks on the offensive side tonight. We were aggressive on defense.”
“We didn’t finish stuff this week. We will break down film and hopefully improve this week.”
Knox County will deal with one of the area’s better quarterbacks in week six when Salisbury junior Grant Biere leads the Panthers to Ella Campbell field on Friday, October 2, 2020. Jackson King was the Panther receiving leader last season.
Scotland County beat Salisbury (0-5) 58-6 in Week 5 at Salisbury. Harrisburg topped the Panthers 36-0 on September 11.