Harvest Prep at Columbus Academy Vikings prep for Warriors' ground game
The Harvest Prep football team will put its 38-game winning streak in MSL play on the line when it visits Columbus Academy on Friday, Sept. 4.
Both teams are coming off opening-week wins Aug. 28.
Harvest Prep rallied to defeat Buckeye Valley 56-25 and Academy dominated Whitehall 38-0.
Academy coach Robin Miller vividly recalls last season's meeting, a game in which the Warriors racked up 499 rushing yards in a 45-24 win.
"We have to run the ball and stop the run," Miller said. "It's that simple. We gave up 499 yards rushing last year. That's one (stat) that sticks with you. They have a ton of guys back. They always reload. They have studs everywhere. They're scary good."
Along with the winning streak in league play, since coach Milan Smith took over the Harvest Prep program in 2014, the Warriors have won six consecutive league titles, including finishing first in the MSL-Ohio Division last season at 6-0, ahead of second-place Academy (5-1).
"We don't underestimate our opponent this week, Columbus Academy," Smith said. "They had a big win last week. Coach Miller does a great job over there. He's one of the better coaches in our league. When they moved us to the Ohio Division it's extremely more competitive. There's a lot of good coaches in the league, so we look forward to the challenge."
Harvest Prep also has moved up two divisions for postseason play, jumping from Division VII to Division V, where it joins Academy. The Warriors reached a state semifinal last season, losing to Lucas 15-12.
Before last season's meeting, the teams previously had played in 2014, with Academy winning the non-league contest 38-35.
Harvest Prep trailed Buckeye Valley 17-6 in the first half before taking control. Running back Jaylen Jennings scored four touchdowns to lead the Warriors.
"You're not going to go out every Friday and play your best football," Smith said. "It's not real. These are kids that are inundated with a number of social ideals and a lot of our kids are caught up in the social injustice and rightfully so. My coaches are dealing with issues. There's just so much going on in the world today with the COVID.
"The last thing I want to do is overwhelm them with the small subtleties of the game of football. I want them to have fun and I want them to enjoy their time, but at the same time you want to win."
Academy finished with 282 yards in total offense while limiting Whitehall to 101.
Jake Calodney rushed for 56 yards on three carries and Carter James added 45 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries.
"Academy will be as prepared as any team we play," Smith said. "They'll be as disciplined as any team that we play, and it's no secret, they have the best resources. Those are things that are always difficult to combat, but our guys are going to be very ready. We're champing at the bit to get that going."
HARVEST PREP at COLUMBUS ACADEMY
*When: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4
*Last meeting: 2019, Harvest Prep 45-24
*Harvest Prep (1-0) to date: Defeated Buckeye Valley 56-25
*Academy (1-0) to date: Def. Whitehall 38-0
*Top Warriors: Josiah Carroll (QB/DB/K), Jalen Davis (WR/DL), Phillip Gibson-Perry (RB/LB), Rashaun Goines (WR/DB), Jaylen Jennings (RB), Terrence Kee (QB/LB), Patrick Moore Graves (OL/LS), Manny Mullens (TE/DL) and Aden Rogers (QB)
*Top Vikings: Kyle Carlin (WR/DB), Keir Gorospe (OL/LB), Brady Hess (QB/LB), Sam Huyghe (WR/DB), Parker Logan (RB/LB), Graham Mallory (WR/DB), Gyvnn Mendenhall (OL/DL), Robert Mills (TE/DE), Durell Moultrie (WR/DB) and Chris Sugar (RB/LB)