With the Harmony offense losing big pieces to graduation last fall, it may take time for the new faces their to get momentum and confidence.
Luckily on Thursday at Austin-Tindall Sports Complex, the Longhorns defense issued a statement: Don't worry, we have your back for a while.
It was a loud statement. The defense forced five turnovers, including returning one for a score and setting the offense up with another on a short field as Harmony won, 14-0, over Sebastian River. It's the Longhorns' second spring shutout in a row; the offense was the star of a 37-0 romp over Cypress Creek last year.
Coach Don Simon was upbeat about the game, but also said it was just the start to a fall that will need to see a lot of improvement if the team's going to qualify for the playoffs again.
"We have a lot of things to work on, but the makings of the team we want to be are here," he said. "Some of the new guys are tentative and afraid to make mistakes right now, and we have to get past that and get more confident, on both sides of the ball.
"We have a long offseason ahead, but we accomplished what we wanted (Thursday). It's been a long spring and we have kids who've proved they can survive it, growing pains and all."
Those growing pains showed on offense. Harmony rushed 28 times for 34 yards, and quarterbacks Chris Skeldon and Kheagan Black were nearly identical, combining to go 14-for-27 for 143 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions.
But the defense made up for it. Chace Henry, Gibson Gaston, Kareem Dinzey and Kenneth Torres intercepted passes that shut down Sebastian River drives.
"And we had two more we had that were pick-sixes but we dropped them," defensive coordinator Nick Lippert said. "I can never let them know I'm happy."
Henry's pick on the Sharks' first possession set up the offense at the Sebastian River 21. Harmony marched to the goal line then Black fired a pass to the flat that went off Dinzey 's hands and right to Collin Yi, who shook a tackle and found the end zone. Skeldon added the PAT.
The defense made that one score hold late into the third quarter — and then added to it. One play after making a tackle for a loss, Darren Davis scooped up a Sharks' quarterback fumble took it 47 yards for another score. From there, the defense maintained the shutout, giving up just 130 yards to the Sharks.