Harlem Wildcats Win Eight Player Debut, Outlast Lodge Grass Indians 60-52
September 1, 2021
The Harlem Wildcats were able to find an opponent at the last moment and began their first Eight-player season this past Saturday at home versus the Lodge Grass Indians. In a high scoring affair it was the Wildcats that had the last laugh as they won a thriller 60-52 to start 1-0.
First year Head Coach Ken Bigby is excited about what is going on with Harlem Wildcat Football this year. Bigby is happy to mentor this years squad as they make the transition from Class B to Class C Eight-player football.
The team began practicing on Friday, August 13 and have been working hard to get ready for the season opener. For a time it looked like the first weekend was going to end up being a bye. The Lodge Grass Indians and the Wildcats were able to come together and get a game on the books. Harlem played their first ever Class C Eight-player football game this past Saturday.
In a shootout Saturday afternoon, it was the Wildcats outlasting the Lodge Grass Indians in a back and forth affair that ended with a 60-52 Harlem victory.
Junior Amari Stanley scored the first points of the season for the Wildcats, taking a kickoff back 65 yards for the score. Junior Clay Adams scored the two point conversion in what would be a huge day for him.
Adams scored two more times in the opening quarter, the first came on a 40 scamper to paydirt. The second was a one yard plunge at the goal line. Stanley scored both two-point conversions as the Wildcats put 24 points on the board in the opening quarter.
Stanley scored the only points of the second quarter for the Wildcats on a seven yard run. Senior quarterback Mikkel Rider scored on a 13 yard run to start the second half, Adams made good on the two-point try. Stanley added another score late in the third, this one coming from 24 yards out on a nice run. Adams again made the conversion.
Heading into the fourth quarter 46 points on the board the Wildcats were feeling good, but Lodge Grass was hanging close. Rider scored the first Wildcat points of the fourth quarter on an eight yard blast while Adams again converted the extra try. Senior Darrius Longknife capped the scoring finding the end-zone from three yards out.
Picking up a season opening 60-52 win over Lodge Grass was historical, "First Eight-man win for Harlem was huge for morale. The players were looking forward to the game and played their hearts out. The players are looking forward to hosting Chester/Joplin-Inverness on Friday," said Bigby.
"Special Teams are huge for us. Amari Stanley had a huge game on special teams. We also had a great day on the ground. We had a total of 342 yards on 45 carries. Between Amari, Clay, Mikkel, and Darius, our ground attack got us through," added Bigby. "I am very proud of the boys and look forward to the upcoming week of practice," added Bigby. He knows his team needs to get better, "Conditioning and injuries. Our numbers were down this weekend. Due to some funerals in the community and we had a few key players that didn't get their 10 practices so we couldn't field a full roster." Our Freshman stepped up huge for us. Defensively we need to make sure the players play their positions. We will continue to work and the players will hopefully be ready for the game this weekend.
Stanley led the attack for the Wildcats with 139 yards on 17 carries while adding 179 return yards on five attempts, scoring three touchdowns. Adams had two scores and 91 yards on 16 carries while adding three conversions. Rider finished with two touchdowns as well rushing eight times for 83 yards.