By Ben Murphy
Harrison took a pair of early leads but neither one stuck Friday night, as the Hornets fell to visiting Meridian 41-18 in Jack Pine Conference football.
“We keep improving and playing hard but injuries are adding up and are taking their toll,” Harrison head coach Mike Petrongelli said.
Harrison’s night started out well, getting a first quarter touchdown run by Ryan Johnson. The Mustangs answered with a 43-yard touchdown pass and an extra point to lead 7-6 after the first.
The Hornets regained the lead at 12-7 on a one-yard run by Josh Wilson, but the Mustangs scored twice before the half to lead 21-12 at the half.
Meridian picked up where it left off in the second half, getting three third quarter touchdowns to lead 41-12 entering the fourth.
In the final stanza Justin Yager ran in from 24-yards out to finish off the scoring.
Johnson led the Harrison offense with 13 carries for 146 yards, Justice Walraven had 13 carries for 73 yards, Yager had six carries for 58 yards, Gavin Rhodes added 34 yards on eight tries and Wilson ran eight times for 32 yards.
Yager finished six-of-14 passing for 57 yards but also threw two interceptions. Wilson made two catches for 29 yards, Cody Forster made two grabs for 21 yards and Bret Coughlin had one catch for six yards.
For the night, Meridian had 173 rushing yards, 249 passing yards for 422 total while Harrison had 346 rushing yards, 57 through the air and 402 total.
Coughlin led the defense with nine tackles, Rhodes had seven tackles and an interception, Walraven boguht down five and Matt Haskell had three tackles and an interception.
The Hornets (1-4 overall, 1-2 JPC) host Beaverton (1-4, 1-2) tonight. Harrison won last year’s meeting 41-20, though Beaverton is coming off a 7-0 win over Houghton Lake last week.
“Beaverton just won their first game and will be fired up,” Petrongelli said. “We must play better defense.”