Harrison Hoyas vs. Wheeler Wildcats
By: Jennifer Coe
(Cobb County, GA)On Saturday, the smell of competition was in the air, as two 2nd grade teams from the Cobb County Youth Football League suited up for war at Lost Mountain Park, striving to defend their 4-0 undefeated winning streak and hold the crown as “The Team to Beat”. With the playoffs not too far in their sights, the Harrison Hoyas and Wheeler Wildcats ensured this game to be a nail bitter from the first blow of the whistle.
Leaving no time to waste, Hoyas’ Quarterback #21 Chase Watkins scored the first touchdown of the day, putting his team on the board, and allowing #3 Gatlin Brody to run in the conversion for a 7-0 lead over the Wildcats. Making easy adjustments, the Wheeler Wildcats hit the ground running, answering with a touchdown of their own. #20 Da’Veon “DD” Stephens found a clear path down the middle and attacked, charging right through the defensive line and into the end zone and sealing the deal with the conversion to even the score, 7-7.
There’s no question that the Wildcats defense was no match for #21 Chase Watkins’ undeniable speed and agility, as he zipped through and around his opposition, leaving the defense in a daze with his quick moves and extraordinary footwork. Wrapping the 1st quarter, Watkins made an 11-yard run for 3rd and 10 and passed the ball off the #3 Gatlin Brody to secure an automatic 1st down after Wheeler received a penalty for a helmet grab. Kicking off the 2nd quarter, Watkins continued to move the ball, first choosing to hand it off to Brody for a 5-yard run, then choosing to take it to the outside in the very next play for a 16-yard touchdown. This would be #21 Chase Watkins 2nd touchdown and 2nd assist with the 1-pt conversion,which would be completed by #23 Grant “The Hammer” Largen.
For the remainder of the first half, defense reigned supreme. Hoyas’ #35 Colin “The Beast” Bellomy lived up to his name making two impressive tackles, taking down #4 Christopher Geter and #3 Marcus Romain in back-to-back plays. #12 Raymond Boyd moved quickly to block and take down Wildcat #3 Marcus Romain at 4th down, to take back possession of the ball at the 43-yard line. The tables soon turned, as it was now Wheeler’s turn on defensive. In 1st, 2nd and 3rd down, the Hoyas couldn’t move the ball past the line of scrimmage for a single yard. #21 Chase Watkins tried to move the ball from the middle and run it again to the outside but was stopped short by Wildcat #44 Trenton Wanjogu at the 41-yard line. #63 Braylon Young solidified the plan of attack, taking down #3 Gatlin Brody in the next play, which would also be a 4th down for the Hoyas. Failing to reach the end zone, the Wildcats took possession yet again for another attempt at the red zone. #3 Marcus Romain made persistent efforts to break through Hoyas’ heavy-duty defensive, but not enough to get past “The Beast” (#35 Colin Bellomy) and “The Caveman” (#10 T.C. Washington) with backfield tackles that would end the 1st half, and allow Harrison to keep their lead to start the 2nd half, 14-7.
In the very first play of the 3rd quarter, the Wheeler Wildcats proved to be just as hungry for a win, as they took possession of the ball and #4 Christopher Geter ran 62-yards for a 2nd touchdown. This seemed to wake up the Hoyas almost immediately; defense got back on the line, and this time, stopped the Wildcats from securing the extra point in the conversion. It was at this point that the Hoyas were put on high alert; underestimating the opposing team would be the unwise and close attention would be required if they were going to try and keep a solid lead, with only one-point making all the difference.
The Harrison Hoyas suffered a close call in the 3rd, after a loose ball almost cost them a fumble to lose possession; however, the ball was recovered by Hoyas offense at the 30-yard line and they were able to keep control of the ball. #35 Colin Bellomy ran 5-yards to the 25, followed by 16-yard run by #21 Chase Watkins for a 1st down; #23 Grant Largen would gain another yard and #21 Chase Watkins would snag his 3rd touchdown of the day with an 8-yard run. Controversially, #3 Gatlin Brody ran in for the conversion and way taken down just inches from the line with one arm in the end zone; referees ruled this as an incomplete and failed attempt and the extra point was not given.
The Wildcats would get one last chance to even the score in the 4th and took a few hard hits along the way; getting to the end zone wouldn’t be easy. “The Hammer” (#23 Grant Largen) shook the field with a hard hit to start the final quarter of the game. Hoyas secured several backfield tackles and Wildcat #4 Christopher Geter was knocked out of bounds, as he made his way up the field. It’s #3 Marcus Romain who found the right place at the right time, splitting up the side for a 31-yard line for the touchdown. Failing to get the extra point, the score would remain 19-20 with 5:48 left in the game.
#35 Colin “The Beast” Bellomy ran for what appeared to be a clean 15-yard touchdown in one of the last plays of the game, but a penalty was called on the play and the touchdown was overruled. With 27 seconds left in the game, Wildcat #3 Marcus Romain made on last run, but in the end, the Hoyas would preserve their lead and take home a “W” after the final play.
Terrance Washington, coaching staff for the Harrison Hoyas, revealed that before this game, only 18-points were allowed in the previous 4 games combined. With the Wheeler Wildcats scoring 19-points in just one game against this offensively and defensively stacked team, it demonstrated a heart and focus that would prove to be sizeable competition for the playoffs. A final score of 19-20 would stamp a 5-game winning streak for the Harrison Hoyas, but with no question, being the closest game these boys have played all season.