Glads Survive ERHS Air Attack
Harman’s Numbers Huge In 41-35 Loss
Instead, Riverheads got the stop it desperately needed to preserve its undefeated season.
Dillon Martin intercepted Harman on the goal line with six seconds left, and Ben Agnor ran for 139 yards and four touchdowns on 22 carries to lead Riverheads to a thrilling 41-35 victory over the Eagles on Friday night.
“He’s a kid that got burnt four, five, six plays in a row,” RHS coach Robert Casto said, “and then all of a sudden, he steps up and makes aplay. When you’re playing tenth-graders, they’re not seasoned and that’s what happens when you’re playing young kids. We’ve got two sophomores in the secondary, and that’s what happens.”
The defensive play called for the Gladiators (5-0) with the game on the line?
“We said, ‘Intercept it,’” Casto said. “That was our call. Intercept the ball. We’re going to try to run it again next week.”
ERHS (3-2) abandoned the run midway through the third quarter and began an all-out air raid to combat a surprisingly balanced Riverheads offense. Junior quarterback Kendall Casto — the coach’s son — threw for 220 yards, more than doubling his season total.
East Rock’s game plan shifted shortly after Agnor scored from 11 yards out with 9:38 left in the third quarter, putting Riverheads ahead 34-21. Sam Goodson’s extra point was blocked by Shannon Cross.
On its next possession, RHS drove to the East Rock 32-yard line, but three consecutive dropped passes caused a turnover on downs. Harman took full advantage 29 seconds later with a 56-yard touchdown pass to start the third quarter. Raymond Simpson caught a jump ball behind John Weeks, who appeared to be measuring up an interception, and then stayed on his feet and broke loose.
“Up front, their ‘D’ is physical,” Harman said. “… We did run the ball a little bit, but it just wasn’t cutting it. You know, when we go to an aerial attack, it’s hard to stop it. Every receiver we’ve got out there can play.”
The Gladiators, who held ERHS to just 40 yards rushing, seemed to ice the game after converting a fourth down with an 11-yard pass to fullback Cole Smiley and scoring on the next play from 14 yards out — Agnor’s fourth touchdown, which gave RHS a 41-28 lead with 3:27 to go.
But the aerial assault continued to trouble the Gladiators.
Noah Brown hauled in back-to-back catches of 38 and 20 yards, scoring on the latter with 2:44 left to cap a three-play drive. Then, after Simpson intercepted Kendall Casto on second-and-14, the Eagles drove the ball 51 yards but couldn’t get in the end zone, falling to 0-4 against RHS.
“All fades,” Harman said of East Rock’s final play. “It was kind of a last-minute play of the game, do or die. … I was trying to steam it in to Noah, but, you know, just came up short.”
Harman completed 29 of 41 passes. Brown led the Eagles with 184 yards on 10 catches and scored twice. Simpson finished with 144 yards on eight catches and a TD.
“I’m proud of the kids, man,” ERHS coach Donnie Coleman said. “We went down two touchdowns twice in a game. That’s tough to battle back [from] and our kids battled back. Proud as can be of them, but at the end of the night, a loss is a loss.”
Riverheads 14 14 6 7 – 41
East Rock 7 14 0 14 – 35
ER- Reel 1 run (Bullis kick), 7:27.
Riv- Agnor 2 run (Goodson kick), 5:09.
Riv- Staton 3 run (Goodson kick), 1:47.
Riv- Agnor 34 run (Goodson kick), 9:09.
ER- Reel 4 pass from Harman (Bullis kick), 5:07.
ER- Brown 11 pass from Harman (Bullis kick), 0:47.
Riv- Weeks 62 pass from Casto, 0:04.
Riv- Agnor 11 run (kick blocked), 9:38.
ER- Simpson 56 pass from Harman (Bullis kick), 11:43.
Riv- Agnor 14 run (Goodson kick), 3:27.
ER- Brown 20 pass from Harman (Bullis kick), 2:44.
First Downs 15 14
Rushes-Yards 42-251 17-40
Passing Yards 220 392
Total Yards 471 432
Comp-Att-Int 8-14-1 29-41-1
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Punts-Net 1-39 1-38
Penalties-Yards 6-45 3-35
RUSHING- Riverheads: Agnor 22-139, Smiley 8-69, Staton 4-33, Diehl 5-5, Casto 2-17, Goodson 1-(minus 12); East Rock: Cross 8-18, Ramirez 4-18, Reel 5-4.
PASSING- Riverheads: Casto 8-14-1-220; East Rock: Harman 28-38-1-389.
RECEIVING- Riverheads: Weeks 2-72, Eye 2-37, B. Agnor 1-33, T. Agnor 1-58, Smiley 2-18; East Rock: Brown 10-184, Simpson 8-144, Reel 6-31, Cross 3-20, Hurt 1-10, Berry 1-4.