It was a long bus ride to Machesney Park and – unfortunately – it was an even longer ride home for the Belvidere Bucs last Friday night after they dropped their second game on the road to the Harlem Huskies.
Belvidere lost the toss, so they kicked off to Harlem. Their 32 yard run back gave them a start on the Belvidere 49 yard line. It took the Bucs defense a few plays to get settled. By then Harlem was inside the 20. The Bucs held firm, forcing a fourth down and six. A penalty on Harlem gave the Huskies a second chance on fourth down. Their quarterback Keenan Kellett kept the ball and ran 19 yards in for the first touchdown of the night. The point after was good and the Huskies were up 7 – 0. Both defenses dug in over the next few possessions as each team went three and out. After the Huskies got tripped up on a fourth down and three, the Bucs took over on their own 16 yard line. The Bucs were on the move at the end of the first quarter, but fumbled the ball away on the first play of the second. Harlem was unable to do anything and punted it into the end for a touch back.
On second and nine, Tiras Harris went to the air, connecting with Cody Randall for a twelve yard gain. Unfortunately, the next pass ended up in the hands of Harlem. A flag on the play negated a long run back, but the Huskies still had the ball. A run play gained only two yards, so Harlem went to the air. Alex Schanna came up with the interception, running it back through Huskies territory before being shoved out of bounds short of the end zone. The Bucs offense started at the one yard line and it only took two plays for Tiras Harris to push it in for a touchdown. Brian Voss’s kick was good and the Bucs tied the game at seven with 7:20 left in the half. The Huskies started near midfield on their next drive, but a penalty stalled their drive. On a third down and twenty two, the Huskies faked the Bucs out with a reverse that allowed Keith Purifoy to score. A fake kick turned into a pass on the point after, giving Harlem a 15 – 7 advantage. The Bucs lost their momentum after a penalty and were forced to punt. Harlem put a quick drive together, a reverse similar to the previous drive allowed Purifoy to run down to the 1 yard line. The Huskies scored on the next play. Belvidere felt pressure to respond and went to the air on their next drive. The first pass to James Johnson netted them a first down in Harlem territory, but the next pass was picked off. The Huskies only needed 23 seconds to move 54 yards for another touchdown. Tiras Harris, playing both offense and defense, was hurt on the final play.
James Johnson was in as quarterback for Harris to start the third quarter from the 41 yard line. He connected with Trea Turner in Huskies territory. Two plays later, Johnson kept the ball to grab another first down. Alex Schanna grabbed a pass and ran down to the eight yard line. Unfortunately, that was as close as they would get. Mike Urena intercepted the ball on the next play. Harlem scored four plays later when Demetris Fambro ran it up the middle 35 yards for a touchdown. The point after was good and the Huskies were up 36 – 7. Matt Safranek busted out on the kick off, running thirty yards to start the Bucs next drive on the Harlem 37. They moved down as close to the 16 yard line, but turned it over on downs. Harlem got the ball into the end zone, but a penalty called back a 57 yard run. David Gamboa picked off a Huskies pass and the Bucs started the fourth quarter with the ball on their own 26 yard line.
Tiras Harris, back in the game, ran the ball 26 yards into Harlem territory. Three big penalties on Harlem moved the ball another 30 yards. Matt Safranek pushed down to the 2 yard line and Harris ran it into the end zone. That was the final score for the night and the Huskies ended up 36 – 13 winners.
The Bucs host Guilford for their home opener tonight. Guilford makes its second trip to Belvidere after losing to the Blue Thunder last Friday 29 – 6. The game begins at 7:15.