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Harding topples Mooney in thriller

By Matthew Peaslee


Lamar Carmichael took a knee. The Harding faithful took to their feet.

And Steve Arnold took a moment to reflect on a program-defining win in just his third game as the Raiders head football coach.

“We had a good week of preparation,” Arnold said. “We have a theme for each week. This week was business. We had to take care of business. Last week was kind of an emotional win over Howland, this week we said it was a business game.”

A 28-20 win over Cardinal Mooney, with a stretch of 22 unanswered points, gave the Raiders their second win in a row.

Just another day at the office.

“There’s no relaxing with this team,” quarterback Lamar Carmichael said. “That’s what coach Arnold stresses. We stay up tempo and we’re never satisfied.”

Carmichael, a junior, made his first varsity start in an opening week loss to Fitch. On Saturday, he made his first start as a passing quarterback.

Carmichael hit seven different receivers in the first half and finished with 232 passing yards and completed 17-of-22 passes. Harding’s first score was a 13-yard reception by Aaron Qualls. Carmichael hit Leshun Daniels for a 27-yard passing score in the second quarter and he had a long completion of 48 yards in the third quarter.

“It was very new,” Carmichael said of his role as a passer. “They let me throw the ball this game and that means a lot that they have faith in me.

“We stayed after practice everyday. All week I was working on my throws and the receivers were working on their routes and it paid off because we didn’t miss a beat.”

Daniels, the team leading rusher, finished with just 31 yards on 12 carries.

“We knew they were going to try to take Leshun away so we wanted to work the ball more to our perimeter guys,” Arnold said. “Lamar did a good job of doing that. We have some good weapons that made their defense work.”

On the other side, the Raiders defense made the Cardinals work.

Mooney did finish with 271 rushing yards, led by quarterback Denver Martin’s 129 on 15 carries, but the Cards were stopped on two third downs, a fourth down and turned the ball over twice.

“We just really wanted to stop the run,” Jalyn Powell said. “We were expecting and we had to keep up with them as much as possible.”

Chance Harper recovered a Martin fumble at the 50-yard line that set up a John Coleman touchdown in the third quarter. The 4-yard run put Harding up 21-14.

Carmichael ran for an 11-yard TD on the Raiders next possession. As Mooney (2-1) was threatening to come within seven with under six minutes left in regulation, Powell intercepted a Martin pass that killed the drive.

Justus Ellis-Moore scored all three of the Cardinals’ touchdowns. He had 19 carries for 99 yards. Marcus Boomer and Lamar Freeman each caught four Carmichael passes for 81 and 77 yards, respectively.


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