Harriton head coach Matt Barr addressed his team as the the 'Kings of Lower Merion township' after the game. After a dominating performace, not many could argue.
Harriton used its running game to power its way to a 42-21 victory over Lower Merion on Friday night at home. The score remained relatively close as both teams traded scores in the first quarter.
Harriton struck first on a 14-yard touchdown run by running back Andre Pendleton, but Lower Merion quickly responded with a 45-yard touchdown run of their own by halfback Max Golden.
In the second quarter, a long Harriton drive set up an easy 1-yard score by Eric Korn. After a failed onsides kick, the Aces were helped by a big personal foul penalty to push them into Rams territory. Their drive stalled briefly, but quarterback Desmond Ellis converted on a 4-and-1 to keep the drive alive. The sneak set up a 12-yard touchdown run for halfback Ernest Pendleton with just under three minutes left in the first half.
The two teams seemed destined to duplicate the first quarter after again exchanging scores in the second quarter, when Harriton made a big statement. On the ensuing drive after the Aces touchdown, halfback Juwan Valentine scored on a dazzling 60-yard run that was initially called back for an 'ineligible reciever down field' penalty. The officials huddled and ruled there was no foul on the play and Harriton had regained the lead 21-14 just 16 seconds after the Aces scored. Harriton tacked on another touchdown with just over a minute to play in the first half in the form of another Valentine touchdown run.
"That was huge," coach Barr said. "We knew our offense could do whatever we wanted against them, really. We should have been scoring all game."
In the third quarter, Harriton put the game away for good with another long drive and short Korn touchdown run. After a Lower Merion fumble, the Rams seemed to be on their way to another score, when quarterback Pat Moriarty was injured on a run and the drive stalled.
It turned out that the Rams didn't need any more points to win the game, as the defense seemed to settle in after the Aces final score of the first half.
"They sucked it up and did a good job," said coach Barr. "I was proud of them"
Lower Merion scored on a 2-yard quarterback sneak by Ellis early in the fourth quarter to pull the Aces to 35-21, but the Rams responded with two minutes left in the game on a touchdown strike from quarterback Matt Brannau to wideout Kenny Brown.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the Harriton player who made both 1-yard touchdowns; Eric Korn made those scores. The previous version also incorrectly stated the name of the Harriton quarterback who threw the last pass of the game; that quarterback was Matt Brannau.