Harvard enjoyed an ideal start, then played a near-perfect first half to coast to a 56-16 home-field victory over King Friday night in the second round of the Class 4A state playoffs.
“Our line came off the ball good and we ran what we wanted to run,” Harvard quarterback Peyton Schneider said. “We controlled the line and I’d have to say it was just an all-around excellent effort from our O-line.”
Harvard scored on its first play from scrimmage when Christian Kramer went around left end 58 yards, then King went on to fumble away the ball on three of its first six plays from scrimmage to set the Hornets up with easy field position to take a 28-0 lead after only 4:12 of play.
“Our defense with the turnovers was big, but also our offense taking advantage of them was, too,” Harvard coach Tim Haak said.
Zach Martin’s fumble recovery at the King 26 on the Jaguars’ first play from scrimmage set up a 19-yard Christian TD run around end. Then Adam Freimund came up with a fumble recover at the King 30 and Schneider found Justin Nolen for a 30-yard TD pass and a 21-0 lead.
Harvard (11-0) rolled up 360 yards of offense in the first half en route to a 56-0 lead and a running clock the entire second half.
Nolen caught a 42-yard first-quarter TD pass from Schneider and returned an interception 47 yards for a score, Jose Mejia ran in from 2 yards and Isaiah Rudd and
Matthew Wheeler scored from 1 yard.
Schneider completed 7-of-9 passes for 93 yards and Kramer rolled up 142 yards rushing on seven carries. Harvard had 376 yards of offense in the game, and made four catches for 87 yards.
“We were fortunate enough to get some of our No. 2s in and those kids work hard all year and we wanted to give them that opportunity,” said Haak, whose team plays next weekend against the winner of Saturday’s Rochelle-Rockford Lutheran game.
King quarterback Nate Powell finished 10-of-25 passing for 174 yards, including second-half TDs of 35 and 15 yards to Phillip Powell.
“We got outclassed today,” King coach Lonnie Williams said after his team finished 8-3. “And their field, it was muddy and we weren’t ready for that. We didn’t have the right kind of cleats. But that wasn’t the reason we lost.
“We have to accept it and go back and build to be a better team next year.”