It’s difficult to pick holes in a football team’s performance when said team has won four straight games. But Arthur P. Schalick High School’s penchant for falling behind in the opening half before rallying to victory has made for one of the more interesting seasons in recent memory.
Senior running back Tyrell Hart puts the phenomenon in proper perspective.
“It’s a very, very terrible habit. But at the end of the day, a win is a win,” he said after tallying a pair of touchdown runs in the third quarter to lift the Cougars to a 13-6 triumph over Mt. Pleasant High of Wilmington, Del., Friday night.
Hart spearheaded a valiant third quarter performance by the Cougars (4-1) on Homecoming Day as he racked up 155 yards on the ground. He cashed in on a 34-yard run with 8 minutes, 33 seconds left in the quarter, then exploded for a 61-yard juke on Schalick’s next possession.
The 5-foot-10, 160-pound rusher found the end zone in similar fashion on both scoring runs, finding a hole on the left side before finding daylight by cutting across the middle of the field. Hart’s second score came with just 59 seconds to go in the third quarter.
Schalick nearly saw the lead slip away in the closing minutes of the game. Green Knights receiver Justice Grimes split two defenders in reeling in a 36-yard bomb from quarterback Jashawn Johnson that gave the visitors a first-and-goal from the Cougar 8-yard line.
Mt. Pleasant (2-5) couldn’t make anything happen, however, and a critical false start on fourth down pushed the ball back to the 9-yard line. Schalick coach Seth Brown called back-to-back timeouts, the second coming after the Green Knights showed three receivers and a running back in motion.
On fourth down, Johnson tossed a high floater toward the end zone, but receiver Ramier Freeman stepped out of the back of the end zone before getting possession, effectively ending the game in the final minute and giving Schalick its fourth comeback win in as many games.
“They missed it by a yard, just one yard too far in the end zone,” Brown observed. “We were a little lucky.
“We can’t win a game without a comeback. It’s in their blood.”
The Cougars essentially had just three drives in the opening half, with a fourth coming in the final 15 seconds. On the night’s first possession, the Cougars marched from their own 7-yard line to the Green Knight’s 35, but a holding penalty stalled the drive.
Schalick’s ensuing possession was also handcuffed by a yellow flag, a personal foul.
“We moved the ball well, but we’ve got to stay away from stupid penalties,” Brown said.
After Dannon Williams’ 45-yard scoring run gave Mt. Pleasant a 6-0 advantage in the second quarter, Schalick made some minor adjustments at the half, mostly blocking schemes and figuring out a way to neutralize Freeman, the Green Knights’ defensive lineman.
“He hurt us in the first half. The guy’s a force, a dominant player,” Brown said.
The ploy worked. Brown felt Hart and DeAndre Solomon (11 carries, 87 yards) were impressive with their intensity and command.
“I think Tyrell had a different gear,” Brown added.
As for Hart, the second-half transformation is about proving the team’s mettle.
“We just wanted it so bad,” he said. “We see the potential we have and we want to prove it to everyone else.”
Schalick hosts Penns Grove on Friday.
Schalick 13, Mt. Pleasant 6
|Mount Pleasant (2-5)||0||6||0||0||—||6|
M: Dannon Williams 45 run (run failed)
S: Tyrell Hart 34 run (kick failed)
S: Tyrell Hart 61 run (Merker kick)
|Team stats||Mount Pleasant||Schalick|
Rushing: M-Dannon Williams 16-97, Tavio Cone 20-69, Marcus Lopez 1-4, Jashawn Johnson 6-(-2). S-Tyrell Hart 18-155, DeAndre Solomon 11-87, Nick Crisafulli 5-31, John Gallo 2-(-3).
Passing: M-Jashawn Johnson 4-10-0, 91 yards. S-John Gallo 3-11-0, 31 yards.
Receiving: M-Ramier Freeman 2-40, Justice Grimes 1-36, Dannon Williams 1-15. S-Jake Ebner 1-19, Tyrell Hart 1-7, Melvin Allen 1-5.