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Harrells loses 104-80 in memorable football semifinals


Harrells Christian running back Russell Washington had seven touchdowns and 437 yards rushing – in his team's playoff loss Friday night. (Photo by Photo courtesy Harrells Christian Academy)


There are shootouts in sports – and then there's what happened on Friday between Harrells Christian Academy and Davidson Day School, which was more like dueling machine guns. 

The two schools met in the NCISAA Class 2A football playoff semifinals, and Davidson Day won, 104-80. That score is not a typo: a private high school football playoff game outscored six NBA games on the same night.

Video-game numbers were par for the course this season for Harrells Christian, located approximately 40 miles north of Wilmington off U.S. 421. The Crusaders (9-3) scored at least 80 points four times, despite running the ball almost exclusively.

"We have a really good offensive line and a number of backs that at any one time could get to the house," coach Brian Aldridge said. "We had four of five runs of over 90 yards. We did things running that most teams that score like that do passing."

Harrells Christian had three players top 1,000 yards rushing this season, including senior Russell Washington, who piled up 2,900 yards on 243 carries.

Aldridge said East Carolina has shown interest in Washington, who scored 45 touchdowns.

"In a lot of the regular-season games, he would only run the ball seven or 10 times," Aldridge said. "When we got into these shoot­outs – our last two games were back and forth – he just kind of took over."

In the Crusaders' season-ending loss Friday, Washington had 45 carries for 438 yards and seven touchdowns.

Harrells' offense stood out in a league filled with passing teams, but the Crusaders' success came with a price. The team's official roster lists only 27 players, and Aldridge said he only regularly played 17. Harrells didn't have adequate numbers to simulate opposing defenses.

Harrells gave up 32.5 points per game over the season, and Davidson Day exploited that vulnerability time and again. Quarterback Will Grier threw for 837 yards, a national record according to Maxpreps.com.

"We just couldn't match up with their speed," Aldridge said. "They just ran around us and threw over us. And they couldn't stop our run."

On Friday, Harrells Christian had two turnovers and a punt, while Davidson Day had just one turnover. It also marked a season sweep for the Patriots, who defeated Harrells 44-29 in the teams' season opener.

While Friday's loss ended Harrells' Christian's season, the Crusaders did win the Big East Conference and Aldridge, a longtime coach at several programs across Southeastern North Carolina, said he enjoyed returning to the sidelines.

"It's been amazing and different," Aldridge said. "I've never gone through a season like this, when you score 80 four times and 70 once, and you score 80 and lose. So it was a roller-coaster year. But we had great kids."

 

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Harrells Christian scored 80 points Friday night in its NCISAA Class 2A football state playoff game – and lost by three touchdowns. A look at some of the ridiculous numbers from Davidson Day's 104-80 victory:

Davidson Day quarterback Will Grier threw for 837 yards, which could be a national record

Harrells running back Russell Washington had 45 carries for 438 yards and seven TDs

Washington came within one of the state record for rushing touchdowns in a game

Three of the game's 26 scoring drives took only one play

There were zero special teams or defensive touchdowns