The Harrisonville football team is learning that the road after a state championship can be more treacherous than the one that led to the trophy.
Harrisonville is off to a 2-0 start as the reigning Class 4 state champion, but it hasn’t been easy. In their first game on the new home turf at Memorial Stadium Aug. 25, Harrisonville got all it could handle from Savannah before holding on for a 12-8 victory.
“I told them Savanah is a pretty good football team and we are going to get everyone’s best shot this year, and I think we just saw that,” said Harrisonville head coach Brent Maxwell. “It’s going to make us better.”
Harrisonville needed a late defensive stand and a big night from senior running back Wyatt Reynolds to survive the Savages. Reynolds, who transferred to Harrisonville from Adrian, rushed for 123 yards on 17 carries and accounted for all the Wildcats’ points.
Reynolds caught a 30-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Byrd with forty-two seconds remaining in the second quarter to give the Wildcats a 6-0 lead. In the third quarter, Reynolds ran 25 yards for another score that gave the Wildcats some cushion and Reynolds some goosebumps.
“I heard the crowd at about the five-yard line and it was amazing,” said Reynolds.
Maxwell was just glad to have Reynolds on his side that night.
“He is a very disciplined kid who has some speed,” Maxwell said. “He’s definitely dynamic in his movements. Like tonight, he is going to make us look good as coaches.”
Savanah made it interesting with a six-yard touchdown run by Trenton Larrison with 4 minutes 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter. The two-point conversion narrowed Harrisonville’s lead to four.
With under a minute left in the game, Savannah kept the momentum on its side with a final drive. Senior Ben Clary came up with a big play for the Wildcats on fourth down, sacking the Savages quarterback and ending Savannah’s hope for an upset.
“We need to be consistent with our play but occasionally you need to go make something happen,” said Maxwell.
Harrisonville’s road doesn’t get any smoother this week. This Friday night the Wildcats travel to Pittsburg Kan., to take on one of the perennial powers of Kansas high-school football.
“I am not pleased, but we are going to take it and grow from this and maybe this wakes us up and gets us headed in the right direction,” Maxwell said.