BRIDGEPORT — For the fourth year in a row, Harding captured Bridgeport bragging rights after knocking off Central 39-12 on a chilly Thanksgiving day.
“This is my first four year class,” Harding coach Eddie Santiago said. “And we’ve had our ups and downs especially with a lot of deaths in the inner city and our kids dealt directly with that. But they never stopped fighting and to do it with this class it means everything to me.”
The Presidents ran all over the Central defense behind running backs Quran Blow and Coleman Adams.
Blow got the Harding offense rolling with a 75-yard run for the first score and the senior finished the game with eight carries for 135 yards and two scores — while also intercepting a pass on defense.
“We just kept playing,” Blow said. “Coach taught us to never give up and we never did. We just kept pushing and it felt amazing. This is really a program that we’re together, both on and off the team.”
After jumping out early with a 3-yard run touchdown from senior Dimitrie Ivey, the Hilltoppers had a tough time moving the ball on offense while giving up some long runs on defense, Central coach Mike Farrell said.
“I thought the effort was good,” he said. “The execution just wasn’t there at times and we gave up some big plays so credit them. They made some plays that we didn’t.”
Ivey, a bright spot for Central, had both scores and finished with 20 carries for 94 yards.
“He’s a tremendous worker,” Farrell said. “In the weight room and on the field, he’s got a bright future ahead of him.”
Adams would also turn in a big performance for the Presidents, as the junior finished with four carries for 129 yards, one fumble, and a touchdown and a 49-yard touchdown catch.
“He’s been doing that for us the last 10 games,” Santiago said. “He’s up to 14 touchdowns this season, we knew eventually he was going to get in.”
HANDING OVER THE REINS
With Blow playing in his final game wearing a Presidents’ jersey, he said he has no issues with handing over the keys to the team to Adams, “Coleman, that’s my brother on and off the field. He’s got a bright future ahead of him. He’s only a junior, next year he’s going to run all of this so he better do the same thing we did this year.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Tough call between Adams and Blow, but the senior gets the nod. Blow finished with eight carries for 135 and two touchdowns, plus one of the Presidents’ two interceptions which he returned back 30 yards.
“For my younger guys, we start on Monday. We’re back in that weight room. We competed in the SCC this year, but we want to start to win those close games that we were in. So our goal is to get better and win more games in the SCC and we’re always hunting for the playoffs. ” Harding coach Eddie Santiago on preparing for next season.
HARDING 39, CENTRAL 12
HARDING0 14 6 19 — 39
CENTRAL 6 0 0 6 — 12
C — Dimitrie Ivey 3 run (pass failed)
H — Quran Blow 75 run (run failed)
H — Coleman Adams 79 run (Kevin Bednarz run)
H — Blow 48 run (run failed)
H — Bednarz 49 pass Adams (Jordan Robinson kick)
C — Ivey 8 run (run failed)
H — David Council 28 run (kick failed)
H — Zamir Hairston 65 yard (kick failed)
Records: Harding 3-7, Central 2-8