Ready at Harvest Prep: Silver Knights, Warriors expect another battle
On its way to a Division VII state semifinal last season, the Harvest Prep football team won a trio of close games over the last four weeks of the regular season.
One of the tightest during that stretch came when the Warriors edged Ready 21-15 in overtime.
Those teams will meet Friday, Sept. 18, at Harvest Prep knowing there is a strong possibility of another close game.
“We played them last year and it was a tough game,” Warriors coach Milan Smith said. “I see them being a better football team this year, but I like my football team, too.”
Harvest Prep bounced back from a 20-10 loss to Columbus Academy on Sept. 4 to beat Grandview 64-13 on Sept. 11 and improve to 2-1 overall and in the MSL-Ohio Division.
After Ready opened with a 7-6 loss to Liberty Union on Aug. 28, it beat Buckeye Valley 20-6 on Sept. 4 and then dominated previously unbeaten Academy 33-7 on Sept. 11.
The Ready-Harvest Prep matchup isn’t an MSL-Ohio game because Ready is only an auxiliary member of the league, but the Silver Knights are playing only the six teams in the MSL-Ohio during the regular season.
The Knights’ biggest challenge will be slowing down a Harvest Prep rushing attack led by junior Jaylen Jennings, who rushed for 215 yards and four touchdowns against the Bobcats. At quarterback, senior Terrence Kee and sophomore Aden Rogers both have played well for the Warriors.
The Ready defense has been led by senior Aiden Aiello, junior J’Sun Gardner and sophomore Sage Tilley in the secondary and senior Cole Matthews at linebacker.
Matthews had two tackles for loss against Academy and Gardner had two interceptions against Buckeye Valley.
For Ready, senior quarterback Darius Parham ran for 144 yards and senior running back/wide receiver Tyrese Hudson had 151 yards rushing against Academy, while sophomore running back Brian Fitzsimmons ran for 72 yards. The Knights finished with 416 yards of total offense, with 411 coming on the ground.
“Our execution (has) improved,” Ready coach Joel Cutler said.
Ready played just as well on defense against Academy, holding the Vikings to 176 total yards and not allowing a score until 1:04 left in the game.
READY at HARVEST PREP
•When: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18
•Last meeting: 2019, Harvest Prep 21-15 (OT)
•Ready (2-1) to date: Lost to Liberty Union 7-6; defeated Buckeye Valley 20-6; def. Columbus Academy 33-7
•Harvest Prep (2-1) to date: Def. Buckeye Valley 56-25; lost to Academy 20-10; def. Grandview 64-13
•Top Silver Knights: Aiden Aiello (DB/WR), Cael Dent (OL/DL), Brian Fitzsimmons (RB), Tyrese Hudson (WR/DB), Cole Matthews (TE/LB), Jacob Metz (LB), JeJuan McGowan (WR/DB), Darius Parham (QB/DB) and Sage Tilley (DB)
•Top Warriors: Josiah Carroll (DB/QB/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)