WARREN — Only the weather was able to stop Harding High’s second-half comeback Friday night, but not before the Raiders caught opening-night opponent East Cleveland Shaw at 24-24.
Junior kicker Moses Sosa drilled a 29-yard field goal with 21 seconds remaining in the contest to complete Harding’s rally from a 24-12 halftime deficit.
Before the teams could line up for the ensuing kickoff, game officials suspended the game because of lightning. After a long delay, the game was called.
Under Ohio High School Athletic Association guidelines, contests must be suspended for at least 30 minutes for lightning. The 30-minute count starts over after any subsequent lightning strikes.„ÄÄ
Harding’s game-tying drive began with about seven minutes remaining and included three third-down conversions and a fourth-down conversion at the Shaw 11 with 1:06 on the clock. Senior quarterback Jordan Miller picked up three tough yards to convert the fourth down as his offensive line provided just enough push.
Three plays later, Sosa, who missed an extra point early in the game, kicked his field goal.
Miller completed 13-of-25 pass attempts for 169 yards in his Raiders debut and also ran 19 times for 79 yards out of Harding’s spread offense.
The transfer from LaBrae ran for a touchdown and passed for another.
The Raiders had good balance on offense, running for 184 yards net. The carries were spread out among several runners with Mike Dorsey scoring from 14 yards out in the second half and converting a third down during Harding’s game-tying drive.
Junior wideout Edward Killingworth caught a TD pass in the first half and made a big first-down grab on the final drive, as did KVon Williams.
Harding’s problems weren’t on offense, but on defense, at least in the first half.
Shaw quarterback Robert Small completed nine-of-10 passes for 248 yards and two scores in the first half. The Raiders held him to three-of-12 in the second half and kept the potent Cardinals out of the end zone.
Shaw, which had seven plays of 35 yards or more, opened the scoring with a four-play, 76-yard drive which included a 45-yard gain on a simple hitch pass from Small to Ronald McCloud.
Harding countered with Miller’s scoring pass of 15 yards to Killingworth who outleaped his defender in the end zone.
Shaw came right back, driving 80 yards for a touchdown, keyed by a 40-yard gain on a streak pattern to the Cardinals’ big-time college prospect Tyrone Williams.
The 6-foot-7, 215-pound senior wideout was everything advertised. Though he caught just three passes, they went for 82 yards and all were caught despite double or triple coverage.
Harding responded with a touchdown to tie the game at 12 on a 10-yard scramble by Miller.
On Shaw’s next possession, a dropped pass and a good stop up front had the Cardinals in a third-and-nine situation at their own 26. But Williams fought off two defenders on a post pattern for a 36-yard gain, then Small found Jerome Talton wide open deep for a 38-yard scoring pass.
Small’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Williams with 1:37 left in the half increased Shaw’s lead to 24-12. That drive included a 62-yard bomb to Micah White on another third-and-long.