First-Place Harmony Clicking on All Cylinders
[By Stephen Amason, Special to ETSN.fm]
The Harmony Eagles have been in control of District 10-3A Division II at 3-0 with consecutive convincing wins over Troup and a shutout at Winona, bringing their overall record to 5-1 on the year.
Harmony’s one and only loss was to a very good West Rusk (7-0, 3-0 District 8-3A Division I) team earlier this season. Since then, the Eagles have won three straight and have found consistency in their game.
“We feel like at the beginning of the season we were trying to figure out exactly where to put the guys,” Harmony head football coach Tim Russell said. “We knew we had a lot of pieces and it was just getting them in the right spot. In our off-week we moved some things around and the kids continue to get better and better each week and right now we’re executing at a high-level.”
Russell said that earlier in the season they suffered from having too many turnovers but as of late, the Eagles have been turnover free in the last couple of games.
“When you don’t turn the ball over and you don’t have that many penalties, your chances of success go way up, and right now that’s what we’re doing and we hope that continues,” he said.
Harmony has been running all over its opponents, with 25 of its 31 touchdowns this year coming from the ground game. The Eagles like to keep a fresh running back on the field and they have plenty from which to choose.
“The last two weeks we’ve had 12 different guys carry the ball and one of the things about our offense is: A, you have to be able to hold on to the ball and not turn it over. B, you have to be able to block for your teammates. C, you have to be a great runner,“ Russell said. “Fortunately our guys have bought into all that and they check them off, A, B, and C. If they do all that, they get to carry it and do some great things.
“We have a very selfless team, we are mainly concerned with team success and they really are, it's not just coaching cliché, it’s really something that we’re putting to test right now and it's really paying off for us.”
Senior Easton Blackstone plays both ways for the Eagles as he plays some running back on offense, but on the defensive side of the ball he leads the team in tackles with 60.
“He’s a great player for us and can do a lot of different things,” Russell said. “His main contribution is his leadership role, he’s truly a team-first guy and he’d do whatever he could for the team. Whenever one of your best players is also one of your hardest workers, you’re gonna have a lot of success and that’s what we got.”
Harmony is back in district action this Friday night against the Quitman Bulldogs.
“Quitman has vastly improved, they’ve been in some close games and they’re playing sound football,” Russell said. “(Head coach Bryan Oakes) has done a good job of getting them going and they’re really dangerous. They’re gonna sneak up on somebody before the season’s over with, I just hope it's not us this week.”