A county opponent will get its first look at the program Coach Anthony Davis is building at Tohopekaliga High on Friday when Harmony welcomes the Tigers to the east end of the county.
Tohopekaliga might not have gotten its first victory Friday, but it did provide an answer to a trivia question.
Quarterback Dru Dickson scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak to take a 6-0 lead over Dixie Hollins, but the Rebels came back and won, 32-6.
A 40-yard pass from Davis to Anthony Gonzalez to the goal line set up Davis to score the Tigers’ first-ever varsity football points.
“We looked on tape and thought Gonzalez got in himself,” THS Coach Anthony Davis said. “But, that’s how it goes.”
Davis said the Tigers played better Friday, in its home opener, than in a season-opening loss at Jupiter, and hopes the improvement continues this week when Tohopekaliga heads to Harmony to face a Longhorn team that overcame a slow start last week to defeat Gateway, 41-21.
Davis said slowing down Harmony and its up-tempo attack led by quarterback Nate Herstich, who threw for four touchdowns and ran for two more Friday, is daunting, but the key will be to be better again after four quarters.
“We have to worry about doing the things we do better,” he said. “Of course we want to win, but the best thing for the future of this program is finding the best things we do, make them our bread and butter and keep improving on them.”
Meanwhile, Harmony (1-1) got its first win of the year because its up-tempo offense, slowed and under wraps mostly in a loss Aug. 24 to Space Coast, cranked up. Herstich was 10-of-18 passing for 197 yards and four touchdowns, three of which went to Caeleb Bass on strikes of 7, 11 and 32 yards.
"I think the guys still had last week on their minds and started off on the schneid," HHS Coach Don Simon said. "Then they found a groove. The bounce back was just what we needed to get back on track."
Trailing 7-0, the Longhorns answered swiftly. Herstich needed six plays and less than two minutes to take the Longhorns 56 yards and find Bass in the corner of the end zone from 10 yards out, Then after forcing a short punt and getting the ball at the 22, the offense needed just three plays to score when Justin Gleason hauled in a crossing pattern and scored from nine yards out to make it a 14-7 margin that carried into halftime.
Again Gateway scored to open the second half, but from there Harmony mashed the gas hard. Herstich needed just over two minutes to answer and hit Bass from 11 yards out, the defense forced a punt and after a bad snap the offense was set up at the Panther 9 yard line. Herstich scored his rushing touchdowns on successive drives to make it 34-15 early in the fourth quarter. The final Herstich-to-Bass hookup with 3:21 left iced the game.
"Our defense stepped up and stopped a good running game, Marlin (Roberts, GHS coach) as a heck of a football team that just got tired in the fourth quarter," Simon said. "But something like this is a sign we're getting everything put together and starting to roll with confidence."
Simon said his team will need to match the intensity Tohopekaliga is sure to bring Friday.
"With them being a new school, next week is a trap and I told the kids we need to be serious and have the best week of practice thus far, or we will get beat," he said.