HARRISBURG — Jack Anderson was the man for Harrisburg in its 21-0 win Friday night over Huron. The Tigers didn’t have much of a choice about it.
Harrisburg struggled consistently in the pass game in the first half, with quarterback Hunter Headlee’s throws sailing past receivers up the seams and around the sideline. In the Tigers’ season-opening win over Mitchell, Headlee completed four passes to wide receiver Justis Clayton for 133 yards; on Friday, he found Clayton for just one 19-yard completion. It was also Headlee’s only completion of the half.
“I wasn’t really concerned,” Harrisurg head coach Brandon White said. “I just knew he was a little jacked up — it’s the first home game, coming back after a big win against Mitchell. He just needed to settle down, and he decided to do that in the second half.”
With the game still scoreless heading into the second half, the Tigers went to the run harder, giving Anderson 15 carries after he had nine before the break. The 5-foot-10 junior also made some fixes of his own.
“I was running too lateral, too back-and-forth,” Anderson said. “I’ve got to get my north and south game going on, and I finally got that adapted, and things started falling together.”
The Tigers’ efforts on the ground were varied, encompassing pitches, option reads, sweeps and more formations, but their best recourse was to clear a hole for Anderson up the middle and let his speed and shiftiness do work. That’s how he opened the scoring on Harrisburg’s third drive of the third quarter, shaking off a tackler at his feet, bouncing off a few more and finding the end zone from 30 yards out.
“We knew they were going to bring a lot of A-gap, B-gap pressure with the middle linebacker, and we knew if we can get a hat on a hat, (Anderson) can find a crease,” White said. “He’s got great speed. Once he gets to that second level, he can make anybody miss. It’s exactly we prepared for — we just executed in the second half and we got those hats on hats.”
The teams exchanged turnovers on downs and Huron punted on the next three drives, which carried the game into the fourth quarter with Harrisburg up 6-0, with the Tigers’ strong defensive line and linebacker play consistently stopping Huron. Harrisburg made it a two-score game with 4:39 left, with Anderson taking another carry up the middle and absorbing a hit at the goal line to score.
Huron was forced to punt on the next drive, and Anderson scored again on the next Harrisburg series, taking his final carry 48 yards for the touchdown, breaking through the secondary and stretching from the middle of the field across the right hash mark.
“We worked really well as a team,” Anderson said. “The holes were there. The linemen performed really well — got to give it to them.”
Harrisburg’s record moved to 2-0 with the win, and Huron’s fell to 1-1.
Follow Ian Frazer on Twitter at @IanMcFrazer .