The number of the night for the Harrison High School football team was 21.
After Romeo Wells put the Panthers in front with a short touchdown on the first possession of overtime, Timmy Evans, a senior cornerback who wears No. 21, recovered a Pueblo County fumble for a 21-14 win over the Hornets on Friday night at Memorial Field.
“They want to stretch the ball out, and we always try to attack it at the end,” Evans said. “You can call us the annoying ones at the end, but we always try to finish.”
The start wasn’t so hot for Harrison.
“I’ll tell you what, they came out and punched us right in the mouth,” Panthers coach Al Melo said.
After receiving the opening kickoff, Pueblo County used an option attack to methodically drive down the field, eventually scoring on a short keeper by quarterback Chase Hartman. Hartman scored Pueblo County’s only other points with another short run early in the fourth.
“They’re a physical team. We knew that,” Evans said. “We’ve gone through plenty of preparation, and we weren’t there in the beginning. But then we just stepped up, played the game that we know.”
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The Panthers tied it at 7 in the second quarter when first-year quarterback Jaseim Mitchell saw Seth Fuller in single coverage and lofted a ball in the direction of the 6-foot-2 junior.
“It was a great throw by my quarterback Jaseim Mitchell,” Fuller said of his class of 2021 teammate. “All I had to do was watch it (fall) into my hands and catch it.”
Tackles for losses from Jailen Simmons and Davonn Stevens brought the Hornets’ next drive to an end after four plays, and Wells put Harrison ahead for the first time on the next drive. After Mitchell and Makeah Scippio connected for a fourth-down conversion, Wells rumbled in from four yards out to give the Panthers’ a 14-7 lead at the break.
Mitchell, a wide receiver on last year’s 11-1 team, and Wells, a former fullback, have helped Harrison to a 4-1 start this season.
“They’ve stepped into their new role where they’re part of the focus, and they’ve embraced it, and they’ve performed,” Melo said. “It’s been great.”
Pueblo County looked to be recreating their first drive of the game late in the fourth, but a big tackle for loss by Stevens and a false start by the Hornets led to a turnover on downs late in the fourth. Evans says it was Stevens who also knocked the ball free in overtime, Harrison’s 12th turnover created through five games, according to Melo.
“We have a turnover circuit we work twice a week,” the coach said. “It worked tonight. We’ve been pretty good.”
Harrison got one more chance in the final minutes of regulation before Wells put the Panthers ahead in overtime and Evans ended it with a fumble recovery.
“This win is really big for us because Pueblo County has always been a tough team,” Fuller said. “They always come out physical and tough.”