By Will Willems
West Layfayette —
The Zionsville football team used good, old-fashion smashmouth football Friday night in their HCC match-up with Harrison.
The Eagles racked up 313 yards rushing and topped the Raiders 35-13, handing Harrison its 32nd-straight loss.
”We are extremely pleased with the offensive line play,” Zionsville head coach Larry McWhorter said. “Coach Giles, Coach Shed, Coach Andrews, we had a whole posse of coaches working with them this week. The kids responded, I am very proud of them.”
Zionsville got the offense rolling on its second drive of the game.
Starting from their own 30, Zionsville went 70 yards in nine plays, scoring on a 25-yard run from Cole Wendt.
Wendt broke four tackles on the play and after being stood up at the 10-yard line kept his legs moving and got some help from his offensive linemen to get pushed into the endzone.
He carried the ball seven times on the drive for 62 yards.
After forcing a Harrison three-and-out, Zionsville went right back to work, going 61 yards in seven plays and scoring on a Josh Hinkle 15-yard run to make it 14-0.
Zionsville missed a golden opportunity to extend their lead in the second quarter.
After getting an interception on Harrison’s next possession, Zionsville failed to convert a fourth-and-1 in Harrison territory.
The defense got the ball back for Zionsville, and they marched to the Harrison 36 yard line and once again faced a fourth-and-1. This time Hinkle fumbled, and Harrison returned it 64 yard for a touchdown.
Zionsville, despite out-gaining Harrison 228-65 in the first half, led just 14-7.
”That was the message all week long,” McWhorter said of finishing drives. “We didn’t have to come back and reaffirm anything at halftime. It was a shame we shot ourselves in the foot there at the end of the half. That was a nice drive going. We really haven’t had a two-minute drill this year and that was one that was going well. Too bad it ended that way.”
Zionsville put the game away in the opening minutes of the second half.
Taking the second half kickoff, Zionsville went 61 yards in 11 plays, scoring on a two-yard run by Matt Penola and the extra point made it 21-7. On the ensuing kickoff, Harrison fumbled and the ball was recovered by the Eagles’ Jared Wisnewski at the Raider five yard line.
On the very next play, Hinkle found Ben Walters in the corner of the end zone for the touchdown and a three-score advantage.
See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for more on this story.