OLD WASHINGTON - In now his 10th season at the helm at Harrison Central, Justin Kropka knows very well what it takes to be a successful football team.
It starts with the preparation during the week leading up to the game. He's a firm believer in the cliche that you play like you practice.
He witnessed it again firsthand Thursday night at the Baker Activity Complex, when his Huskies opened the season against Buckeye Trail in front of a large crowd on an ideal weather night for football.
Photo by Shawn Rine/Harrison Central junior Tison Johnson (28) tries to blow through the Buckeye Trail defense during Thursday’s game at the Baker Activity Complex in Old Washington. Harrison Central won 20-19.
However, the one thing that didn't hold true is that despite not practicing or playing as well as he wanted, the Huskies headed back to Harrison County with a cherished and hard-earned 20-19 victory.
"We've had a million guys out all week and a strep outbreak, but that's no excuse because we didn't prepare the way you need to prepare," Kropka said. "I was disappointed with how we prepared this week and it really showed, especially in the first quarter."
The first quarter of the season ended with the Huskies (1-0) staring up at a 13-point deficit.
The Warriors (0-1) came out and jumped right on the Huskies. They started the game with a 32-yard run right up the middle and eventually scored on their first two drives, while the Huskies lost 10 yards and went three-and-out on their first possession of the season.
"Give Buckeye Trail all the credit in the world because they came out ready to play," Kropka said. "That program is going in the right direction."
The Warriors built a 13-0 lead thanks to the work done on the ground by talented freshman Austin Snodgrass. He scored on an 8-yard run with 10:03 to go in the first.
After a shanked a punt, the Warriors were in business at the Huskies 31.
On a third-down play, junior quarterback Levi Gadd found sophomore Carter Streiff, who burnt the Huskies' defensive backfield for a 16-yard touchdown.
Junior Tyler Faulk connected on the PAT on the second score. A botched snap led to an incomplete pass on the first extra-point try.
"We knew coming in that their experience and our inexperience up front was going to hurt us," Kropka said. "We knew they were big and physical. We knew if it was a slobber-knocking game that came down to offensive-line play, it was going to be a dogfight."
Harrison got some offense going on its second possession. It went on a 13-play, 6- minute, 48-second drive that culminated with a 15-yard touchdown scamper by junior quarterback Zach Arbogast. Austyn Porter caught the pass for the 2-point conversion.
Earlier in the drive, Arbogast made some big plays with his arm. He hooked up with classmate Giovanni Rocchi on a key, 15-yard completion that extended the drive.
The Warriors had some other opportunities in the first half, but failed to capitalize. Harrison shanked a second punt that resulted in Trail starting a drive on the Harrison 21. The Huskies' defense held on downs.
Streiff picked off an Arbogast pass on the ensuing drive, but Trail couldn't score despite reaching the 24-yard line.
The string of missed scoring chances continued for the Warriors in the third quarter. They marched to the 10-yard line after the Huskies roughed the punter. The drive stalled, so the Warriors elected for a field-goal try, but another botched snap thwarted the opportunity.
The Huskies will make their home debut a week from tonight against Weir. Buckeye Trail, meanwhile, opens a three-game road trip with a journey to Caldwell the same evening.
Wensel leads Wheeling Park
WHEELING - Kyle Wensel shot a 78 to lead the Patriots to a huge victory.
All of Park's golfers shot the same or lower than their Mohigan counterparts.
Freddie Fitzsimmons had an 80 for the Patriots, who were without their leader, Cole Hand.
Stephen Green and Tee Tanner had a 96 for Morgantown.
Brooke's Lojanzczyk medals
PARKERSBURG - In a tightly contested match, Brooke Logan Lojanzczyk fired a 39 to lead the Brooke's past Parkersburg (171) and University (175).
Adenna Shears led Parkersburg with a 41.
Kowalski leads Harrison victory
CADIZ -Austin Kowalski took medalist honors with a 5-over-41 as Harrison topped John Marshall in a dual match.
Evan Ossman had a 43 and Jarrett Edwards a 45.
Colton Patrello led the Monarchs with a 46.
Steubenville wins tri match
Nick Ivkovich fired a 40 to lead St. Clairsville to victory against Toronto and Buckeye Local
Austin Meronoff carded a 41.
Sante Carducci had a 50 to lead Toronto and Dan Duill had a 56 for Buckeye Local.
Edison 3, St. Clairsville 1
ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Three players scored a goal each as Edison beat St. Clairsville,
Amara Proffitt, Melissa Tran and Bethanie Bube had goals and Kayla Cronin and Courtnie Bube had assists.
Maddie Fogel had the goal for St. Clairsville and keeper Tatiana Bran had nine saves.
Madonna 8, Trinity 4
WEIRTON - The Red Raiders took a big lead and cruised to victory against Trinity.
Gianna Antinone, Mia Antinone and Hannah Burger each had two goals. Rachel Grubbs had one as did Gaby Kotten. Leann Grubbs had three assists.
Kiera Hill had two goals to lead Trinity.
Wheeling Park 3, Brooke 1
WHEELING - Jonathan Benson had a goal and two assists to lead Wheeling Park to a home victory over Brooke Wednesday.
Jacob Platt and Brady Wood had a goal each.
Paraag Gupka had Brooke's goal off an assist from Garrison Mathison.
Keeper Chris Beaman had 13 saves for the Bruins (0-2).
UL defeats Bellaire 25-20, 25-23, 24-26, 25-21
BELLAIRE - Adrean Carlile had 18 points, five kills and 14 digs to lead Union Local to victory.
Devin Earliwine added 14 points, five aces and six digs.
Bellaire was led by Tara Duffy's 21 points while Morgan Runyan had 17 points and six digs.
Edison falls to EL in four
EAST LIVERPOOL - Despite 10 points and five digs from Tera Anderson, Edison lost in four sets to East Liverpool.
Kayleigh Westbrook had eight points and nine digs.