Harnett Central’s varsity football team celebrated Senior Night with a 52-7 rout over visiting Tri-County Six 3-A Conference foe Southern Lee on Friday.
“I thought defensively we played really well,” said Harnett Central coach Matt Migliore. “We did some things that we haven’t done all year. Forcing turnovers, we’ve been stressing all year and we finally got some, which was big for our defense. I thought Hanson Staps played a really good game.
“Offensively, we finally got things going. I was a little nervous at the beginning when we were being ineffective again at scoring when we had scoring opportunities. But Devin (Perry) and De’andre (McAllister) did a great job on the ground. That’s a big weapon when we’ve got those two rolling and then we can really open up our offense.”
Senior Devin Perry ran for 191 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries to lead the Trojans (2-4, 2-2 TCSC).
“I’m happy for him,” Migliore said. “It took him a while to get going and he had some things that he was working on that we’ve been working with him on to get him to get the ball going downhill. He’s a big, strong runner. When he runs downhill, he’s effective.”
Senior quarterback De’andre McAllister, who transferred to Central from Southern Lee, was 7-of-14 passing for 108 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception, and ran for 87 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries.
“He was really excited about it,” Migliore said. “Mentally for him all week, it’s been on his mind. And they were talking a lot of junk to him. So, for him to have the night that he did is really big.”
Quez Jones ran for 66 yards on six carries and had a 33-yard reception. Jaden Bryant ran for 31 yards and a touchdown on three carries and had four receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown. Keshawn McKoy ran for 28 yards and a touchdown on five carries and had a two-yard reception. Jesse Billingsley had a 14-yard touchdown reception. Tay’shawn Moore ran for 19 yards on three carries. Khalil Cameron had a 12-yard run.
Harnett Central’s defense forced five turnovers in the contest, led by an interception and two fumble recoveries by junior Hanson Staps. Jones and Logan Taylor each had an interception.
Junior Blake Harrington completed 5-of-14 passes for 62 yards, sophomore Anthony Robinson had three receptions for 52 yards and sophomore Kendal Morris ran for 33 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries to lead the Cavaliers (2-4, 1-3).
Prior to the game, Harnett Central recognized 10 seniors: De’andre McAllister, Khalil Cameron, Jaden Bryant, Devin Perry, Jerell Thomas, Keshawn McKoy, Ben Phillips, Caleb Dupree, Jackson Holland and William Caldwell.
Central scored twice in the first half on a pair of 11-yard McAllister runs, one in the first quarter and one in the second. Both conversion attempts were no good.
The Trojans added two more scores early in the third on a 12-yard Perry run and a three-yard McAllister run, with Isaiah Pearson making both extra points.
The Cavaliers found the end zone for the lone time on a 22-yard Morris run late in the third, with Daniel Pisano kicking the extra point. But Central answered on the ensuing drive with McAllister completing a 21-yard touchdown to Bryant, with Pearson adding the extra point.
The Trojans added three more scores in the fourth quarter on a 17-yard Bryant run, a three-yard McKoy run and a 14-yard McAllister to Billingsley pass. Pearson made one extra point in the fourth.
Harnett Central ends the regular season at conference and Harnett County rival Triton (3-2, 3-0) on Friday.
“(Triton’s) offense is something that we’re going to practice all week and it’s tough to contain,” Migliore said. “We only see it once or twice a year. That’s their advantage. Defense is going to be big. We know they run the ball. Our run defense at times has shown flashes of brilliance all year and I think we’ve played pretty good defense all year. I think it’s going to be a battle of two strengths to see who comes out on top.”