CARBONDALE — Carbondale scored 18 points in the third quarter and shut out Harrisburg in the second half to knock Harrisburg out of the postseason with a 32-22 win on Friday.
“We were playing for our lives even though we weren’t playing for the playoffs,” said Carbondale coach Bryan Lee. “We were playing to get a game better than last year, and we wanted to come out and show we could ball. It says a lot for our program — our kids don’t quit.”
Sophomore Tavaris Macklin had a big second half, gaining 60 yards on seven carries to lead the Terriers in rushing after having just one carry for three yards in the first half.
Junior quarterback Jakeba Burleigh continued his fine passing, completing 15-of-23 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns. Jaden Bradley caught both touchdowns and finished with five catches for 65 yards while Javon Love added three catches for 55 yards.
Carbondale (3-6) trailed 22-14 at the half, but scored touchdowns on its first three second half possessions, while the Terrier defense forced a fumble to set up the third touchdown to put the game away.
“The second half, my line started opening the seams and we all got on the same page and began to move the ball,” Burleigh said. “Macklin is a great running back and he is only a sophomore. We went to more power running and more swings after the ball was snapped, which made those seams open up.”
Harrisburg (4-5) scored on its first series of the game to take the early lead, but after Carbondale had scored twice, taking advantage of a fumble to take the lead 14-7, the Bulldogs scored on their next two possessions to take a 22-14 lead at the half.
In the second half, the Bulldogs never crossed midfield until the final drive of the game, which was aided by two personal fouls on the Terriers.
“We were sitting really well at halftime, but didn’t run the ball effectively in the second half and that’s what we had to do,” said Harrisburg coach Gabe Angelly. “We knew we couldn’t get into a spread matchup and throw the ball, so what we had to do was power run, but it was just ineffective in the second half, so we couldn’t control the clock and that was the difference in the game.”
The Bulldogs opened the second half with the ball, but the Terrier defense forced them to punt for the first time in the game from their own 16. The Terriers took over at 41, and five plays later, Macklin scored from the one.
"We’ve been a second half team all year long, but we fumbled some snaps and missed some blocks and it imploded on us tonight,” Angelly said.
The next Bulldog drive stalled at the 50 on fourth down when Shandon Scott-Rivers held Carl Russ to a one yard on 4th-and-2. Macklin got the Terriers off to a grat start with a nine-yard run. After Burleigh gained five yards, Macklin broke off left tackle for 32 yards down to the five, where Burleigh scored to give the Terriers the lead.
Russ broke off a 14-yard run on the next drive, but later fumbled, leaving the Terriers at the Harrisburg 40.
Burleigh shook off a sack to hit Love for 21 yards down to the 18. Macklin gained nine more, and Armondo Davis went the final nine for the score to give the Terriers the lead, 32-22, with 3.1 seconds left in the third quarter.
Harrisburg took a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter on a Jordan Bartok 13-yard run at the end of a 13-play, 65-yard drive.
The Bulldogs got the ball back five plays later when Bartok intercepted Burleigh at the Carbondale 46. However, the Terrier defense stiffened and got the ball back when Isaac Crabb’s pass on 4th-and-9 from the 41 lost five yards.
The Terriers responded with a 9-play, 54-yard drive, highlighted by Burleigh’s connections with Clayton Greer Love to set up the Terriers at the 10. Burleigh found Bradley in the right corner of the end zone to tie the game at 7-7.
The defense recovered a fumble at the Harrisburg 43. Two plays later, Burleigh and Bradley hooked up for a 26-yard touchdown pass and the Terriers led 14-7 with 9:31 remaining in the first half.
After a failed onside kick, the Bulldogs took over on the their own 45 and took five minutes off the clock with an 11-play drive, ending with Bartok scoring from three yards out. After the Terriers were called for offsides on the extra point, Bartok dragged a defender into the end zone for the two-point conversion to regain the lead for the Bulldogs, 15-14, with 4:29 left.
On the next series, Carbondale fumbled to give the Bulldogs the ball on the Carbondale 39. Four plays later, Jordan Bartok rumbled in from the 26 and after a Cowsert point-after the Bulldogs led 22-14 with 2:02 remaining in the first half.
Bartok finished the game with 150 yards rushing on 19 carries with Russ adding 80 yards on 24 carries.