Braylan Ford threw three touchdown passes and ran for another score Friday night as Harrison improved to 5-0 for the first time in four years with a 31-7 victory over visiting Kennesaw Mountain at Cobleigh Stadium.
Harrison has five victories in a season for the first time since its 2019 team won the Class 6A championship and finished 15-0. The Hoyas are one of only four remaining unbeaten teams in Cobb County, joining Walton, Wheeler and Osborne. Kennesaw Mountain, a 17-5 team over the past two seasons, fell to 0-4.
The question of how good the Hoyas are will be answered in the tougher challenges ahead, as their first five opponents entered play Friday night with a combined record of 0-16. However, the Hoyas’ victory against Kennesaw Mountain was efficient and never really in doubt.
“I’m just thankful,” Harrison coach Josh Cassidy said. “It’s never as good as you think it is and it’s never as bad as you think it is. We have to go in and look at the film - coaches and players. After we do that, we’ll evaluate where we are. But I can tell you this, there’s much need for improvement and we’re going to work on that. We’ve got a very tough Pebblebrook team coming up next week, so we’ll get ourselves ready for them.”
Harrison had just 56 yards of offense in the first quarter, but 43 of them came on a touchdown pass from Ford to Brady Kluse that gave the Hoyas a 7-0 lead midway through the quarter.
Kennesaw Mountain answered with a 16-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that took almost seven minutes off the clock. Nalin Scott set up the score with a 25-yard reception from Tyson Harmon that moved the ball to the 1-yard line, then took it in on the next play off a direct snap, tying the game 7-7 with 11:25 to play in the half.
Scott was the offensive highlight for Kennesaw Mountain, finishing with 10 receptions for 138 yards.
Harrison got the ball twice more in the second quarter and scored both times, getting touchdowns on a 9-yard pass from Ford to Amari Watson and a 24-yard run from Ford.
The Hoyas had few opportunities to add to the lead in the third quarter, running just nine plays compared to Kennesaw Mountain’s 20, in large part because of an interception and a fumbled punt.
“I think in the first half, we did what we wanted to do, and then we came out and turned the ball over twice, gave them two extra possessions, which maybe is why it seemed like they had the ball a lot,” Cassidy said. “But our defensive players played really well.”
Harrison put the game away midway through the fourth quarter with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Ford to Xavier Hill and a 32-yard field goal by Rudolph Gleason. Ford finished with 187 yards passing, completing 15 of 18 attempts.
“Braylan’s a senior quarterback. He was first-team all-region last year, and what he’s done is he’s built on everything he did last year,” Cassidy said. “The thing that we’re most proud of him about … we say that ‘bad teams no one leads, good teams coaches lead, and championship teams players lead.’ Braylan and other guys are stepping up.”
Kennesaw Mountain - 0-7-0-0 - 7
Harrison - 7-14-0-10 -321
H - Brady Kluse 43 pass from Braylan Ford (Rudolph Gleason kick), 6:19
K - Nalin Scott 1 run (Ty Roldan kick), 11:25
H - Amari Watson 9 pass from Ford (Gleason kick), 8:24
H - Ford 24 run (Gleason kick), 2:03
H - Xavier Hill 35 pass from Ford (Gleason kick), 7:10
H - Gleason 32 field goal, 4:23