The Harley-Hamptons combined for 536 yards rushing and six touchdowns to lead Homewood-Flossmoor to a 55-17 win over O’Fallon in a Class 8A first-round game Friday.
Yet, O’Fallon couldn’t have asked for a better start. The Panthers recovered a Vikings fumble on the opening kick of the game, which led to a 32-yard field goal by Tucker McCann for a 3-0 lead just 1:36 in.
An 8-yard punt on H-F’s ensuing three-and-out possession set up O’Fallon on the Vikings 30-yard line.
A 15-yard personal foul penalty backed the Panthers up to their own 47. After an incomplete pass, Kentrail Moran followed with a touchdown run that appeared to give O’Fallon a 9-0 lead.
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However, a holding penalty negated the score and an eventual interception handed the ball back to H-F.
“We could have been up 10-0 but we had the touchdown called back,” O’Fallon coach Brandon Joggerst said. “They come up with the interception and the momentum started to change.”
From that point, the walls caved in on the Panthers, compliments of the Vikings twin running backs, Deante and Devonte Harley-Hampton.
Deante Harley-Hampton rushed for 304 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries and Devonte Harley-Hampton added 232 yards and three TDs on 15 attempts for the Vikings (9-1), who rebounded impressively from a stunning Week 9 loss to Bolingbrook.
“We have a short memory,” Devonte Harley Hampton said. “This is a new season. We knew we had to bounce back.”
It was a bit of a payback for H-F, which suffered a 37-35 loss to O’Fallon (5-5) in the first round of the 2012 Class 8A playoffs.
“We figured they (O’Fallon) would use that as a rallying cry,” H-F coach Craig Buzea said. “Tell their kids that we did it before and we can do it again.”
Quarterback Bryce Gray connected with Tyrice Richie on a 24-yard touchdown pass that gave H-F a 7-3 lead at 5:49 of the first quarter.
The Vikings were just getting started.
H-F scored on its next three possessions. Devonte Harley-Hampton accounted for two of the scores, scampering 54 and 69 yards. Deante Harley-Hampton added a 13-yard TD run as H-F opened up a 28-3 lead.
O’Fallon, however, managed to cut the deficit to 28-10 at the half on a 14-yard TD run by Moran with 4:18 remaining in the second quarter.
Moran, a University of Illinois recruit, was a workhorse in the opening 24 minutes, carrying the ball 24 times for 161 yards.
He finished with 226 yards rushing on 34 attempts and two touchdowns.
“We tried to control the clock. But they’re just so tough to stop. They have so many weapons,” Joggerst said.
Deante Harley-Hampton scored on touchdown runs of 85 and 95 yards in the second half. He later added a 63-yard run that set up Devonte Harley-Hampton’s 10-yard TD score that made it 48-17.
“We wanted to make a statement,” Deante Harley-Hampton said. “We had to prove that we can bounce back from a little adversity.”
The Panthers problems were two-fold. They could never establish a consistent passing attack – H-F recorded four interceptions – and the defensive line struggled against the Vikings massive O-line.
“They’re a senior-dominant team and we’re a young team,” Joggerst said. “We tried to control the clock and keep their offense off the field. It just didn’t work out.”