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Hart football: The most of opportunities

Indians offense cashes in on big night; Birmingham can’t do same

Posted: October 2, 2010 12:01 a.m.
Updated: October 2, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Hart High quarterback Cory Mayes rushes downfield against Birmingham on Friday at College of the Canyons.

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Birmingham of Lake Balboa gained nearly as many yards as Hart Friday night at College of the Canyons.

On seven of their eight offensive possessions, the Patriots managed to move the ball into Hart territory.

But the Hart defense dug in when it needed to, and Birmingham scored just one touchdown in a 30-7 Hart victory.

Hart had an interception in the end zone and a recovered fumble on its 20-yard-line, and the offense scored on five of its first six drives as the Indians, despite outgaining the Patriots by just 40 yards, closed out their preleague schedule with a third consecutive lopsided win.

Hart head coach Mike Herrington had mixed emotions headed into his team’s bye week.

“We bent but we didn’t break,” he said. “We gave up too many yards defensively. It kept our offense off the field too much. We were rolling in the first half but we only got the ball four times because we couldn’t keep Birmingham’s offense off the field. But other than the very end, our defense kept them out.”

Four possessions turned out to be more than enough for the Indians in the first half.

Running back Dylan Edwards did most of the damage as Hart (4-1) made the most of its chances.

The junior ran for 126 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.

Both touchdowns and 100 of the yards came in the opening half.

The first score came soon after Birmingham opened the game with a failed onside kick attempt. Hart took advantage, with Edwards taking a Cory Mayes handoff up the gut and breaking it outside for a 27-yard touchdown.

Mayes’ turn to run untouched into Birmingham’s end zone came on Hart’s next possession.

A Birmingham pass interference penalty on a fourth-and-10 incomplete pass attempt gave Hart new life. Four plays later, Mayes, who gained 64 yards on 12 carries, took it in himself with a six-yard touchdown run.

As a team, the Indians punished the Patriots on the ground for 250 yards on 35 carries.

“They were giving it to us and we took it,” Mayes said. “We had giant holes. That’s what I kept noticing. I wasn’t getting touched. Dylan wasn’t getting touched. Our line got chewed out and they came back even stronger.”

Mayes was also effective through the air.

He completed 11-of-20 passes for 151 yards with a touchdown and an interception before giving way to backup Jeff Waterman for mop-up work. Anthony Arriaran was his most frequent target, with five catches for 100 yards.

“I was happy with how efficient our offense was,” Herrington said. “I wish we had gotten them more chances.”

With their final two drives of the half, Rhett Almond booted a 35-yard field goal and Edwards ran for a second touchdown, a 4-yarder with 32 seconds remaining. The Indians took a 23-0 edge into the break.

A 15-yard touchdown strike from Mayes to an open Arriaran as time expired in the third closed Hart’s scoring.

Birmingham, meanwhile, had plenty of chances to make its mark on the scoreboard.

In all three of the Patriots’ first-half possessions they reached at least the Hart 40-yard line. They matched the Indians with five first-half plays of more than 20 yards but were not able to convert their production into points.

“Our defense is playing better, tackling better,” said Herrington, whose team has now given up 20 combined points over the past three games. “We’re going to have to take a look to see why we gave up so much yardage.”

Birmingham quarterback Adrian Mora connected on 9-of-20 passes for 178 yards with an interception, a pick by Matt Ritz in the end zone. The quarterback was also one of six Patriot runners with more than 20 rushing yards.

It wasn’t until a 1-yard scoring run by the quarterback with 4:12 left in the game that the shutout was broken.

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