BRIDGEPORT — When Coleman Adams walked outside Thursday morning and felt the freezing cold temperatures hit his face he figured he was in store for a memorable day one way or another. Little did the Harding senior know at the time that his frigid Thanksgiving morning would end with four touchdowns against rival Central.
Adams, along with QB Kevin Bednarz and swarming defense, lifted the the Presidents to a 46-12 victory at Lewis Memorial Field. The win is Harding’s fifth straight in the series. The Presidents also claimed the Bridgeport city championship after defeating Bassick earlier in the season.
“Waking up this morning and stepping outside the door, I was like ‘Whew,’ ” Coleman said. “I threw on some extra layers and came out here with the attitude I have every game.”
Making Coleman’s performance even more impressive is that he tore a meniscus in his left knee on Sept. 28 against Hand, which had sidelined him until last week.
“That’s my guy. He had a great game,” Bednarz said. “We all knew that was coming. He’s going to go far with this. We all believe in him.”
Bednarz threw three touchdowns — one to Coleman — and added 109 yards rushing to help the Presidents finish 4-6.
“To win the city championship is special,” Harding coach Eddie Santiago said. “To us it’s more than that. We want to expand that and start getting Ws in the SCC, which I think is the toughest conference in the state.”
Harding jumped out to a 20-0 lead in the first quarter behind a pair of Adams touchdown runs and a 38-yard touchdown catch by Marcell Robinson.
“I put a little pain to the side to get out there with my brothers,” Adams said.
The Presidents defense took care of the rest, whether it was forcing turnovers or pressuring Hilltoppers quarterback Devin Allen.
Austin Geyer finished with two sacks and a fumble recovery. Isaiah Hanley picked off Allen twice and added a fumble recovery. Jaharie Mack and Robinson each had interceptions. Hewitt Hoilet blocked a punt in the first quarter.
“The kids were flying around,” Santaigo said. “They had a lot of energy.”
Central (0-10) scored late in the second quarter on a two-yard Allen run — set up by a bad snap on a Harding punt— to make it 20-6. Harding regained full control before halftime when Bednarz found Mack in the left corner of the end zone to make it a 20-point game at the break.
Midway through the third Allen connected with Jean Desir for a 69-yard touchdown that made it 32-12.
“We haven’t really made this rivalry too big over the last few years and by the score we didn’t really do it today,” Central coach Derrick Lewis said. “We brought the emotion, I thought we brought fight today as best we could with what we had. We’re shorthanded, even though we have depth of numbers, we lack depth in football players.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Coleman Adams, Harding. The senior running back scored ran for three touchdowns and caught another to power the Presidents offense. He finished with 57 yards rushing on 11 carries.
Many Connecticut schools moved their Thanksgiving games due to a forecast that predicted freezing temperatures on Thursday morning.
Although it was certainly cold, Harding coach Eddie Santiago is grateful Bridgeport Board of Education Superintendent Aresta L. Johnson kept the game as scheduled.
“Thanksgiving games should be played on Thanksgiving,” he said. “This is a tough town and our superintendent is tough. She let the game go on. We’re extremely happy to play on Thanksgiving and keep the tradition alive.”
“You build off of this and get back to the weight room on Monday,” — Santiago.
HARDING 46, CENTRAL 12
CENTRAL 0 6 6 0—12
HARDING 20 6 12 6—46
H—Coleman Adams 20 run (pass failed)
H—Adams 1 run (Kevin Bednarz run)
H—Marcell Robinson 38 pass Bednarz (pass failed)
C—Devin Allen 2 run (run failed)
H—Jaharie Mack 20 pass Bednarz (run failed)
H—Adams 2 run (run failed)
C—Jean Desir 69 pass Allen (run failed)
H—Adams 7 pass Bednarz (pass failed)
H—Caleb Lemon 2 run (Bednarz run)
Records: Central 0-10; Harding 4-6