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Harrisburg Comes Back to Win Western PA Showcase All-Timer @HBGCougar_FBall

Written by: on Sunday, August 29th, 2021


In 2020, fans across the state were limited to watching players play in empty stadiums on single cam live streams. In 2021, the Harrisburg Cougars, sparked by their passionate fanbase behind them who drove 3 and a half hours to even be in attendance, led a furious comeback against the defending undefeated 5A champions. 

“It was really awesome having the fans here, they came out here and brought the energy,” said Cougars senior lineman Tymere Jennings . “The other team got out strong in the first half, went into the locker room and talked ourselves back up, I’m just so happy our fans could be out here to see what we can do.”

On the other side of the field, the defending Pine Richland Rams fan base was less sure of its future in football. After much offseason drama, and turnover across the offense, Pine Richland would face off against a consistent top 6A contender in Harrisburg at a neutral site. 

In the first half, the Rams would control the line of scrimmage. New QB Cole Boyd led the Rams on a short field following a questionable Harrisburg fake punt to find Andrew Mellis in the redzone to put the Rams on the board. 

In the early second, the Rams would once again capitalize on a Harrisburg error, this time an interception, with Andrew Mellis once again finding the endzone. 

Already early in the second quarter, it felt as though it could get lopsided quickly for the Rams, however, a bruising drive led by key rushes by Kyle Williams on the ground led to a 31 yard strike to Williams through the air to put the Cougars on the board before halftime. 

“We knew we had to get physically tougher and mentally together at halftime.” Jennings said. “We came out very slow in the first half and knew we had to match pace.”

And match the pace they did. Down 14, 6 Harrisburg opened up the second half with another drive down the field capped by another Kyle Williams rush into the endzone. The 2 pt conversion would fail but the confidence would be regained by the Cougars, both on the sidelines and in the trenches. 

“Some of our younger guys were just having some jitters, but as us senior linemen got out there and talked to them,” Jennings commented.  “We told them to not worry about what anyone was saying on the field, just keep it together mentally and physically.”

Kyle Williams would keep on the scoring streak on the following Cougars drive to take the lead, with another 30+ yard grab to go up 18-14. 

Pine Richland wouldn’t go quietly into the Woodland Hills night, however, as Cole Boyd would find Alex Gochis from long range to put Pine Richland back in a position to win with 8 minutes remaining. 

Harrisburg’s offense still believed that they could score quickly against the Rams defense, and several big plays down the field, followed up by QB Shawn Lee slicing his way into the endzone put the Cougars up by 5,  26-21 with under 5 minutes in the game. 

In a 4th quarter of two teams forcing each other to be perfect, the Rams would be the team to make a mistake. A Brooks Eastburn fumble on the penultimate Rams drive followed by a 4 down stand at midfield for the Cougars, gave Harrisburg a statement win to open up a championship seeking season.

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