JH Rose receiver Ben Harris had 10 catches to help lead the Rampants to a win over Charles B. Aycock Friday, Sept. 28.
By Mike Grizzard
Grant Charles Jarman probably knows more than anyone just how much of a game-changer Ben Harris can be.
They spent four years together as Jarman Auto Sales teammates in Greenville Little League, then formed a potent quarterback-receiver tandem as juniors last year at J.H. Rose. That connection has short-circuited this season, but that all changed Friday night.
Jarman and the 6-4 Harris exploited the Charles B. Aycock defense, hooking up 10 times for 175 yards in a 35-14 Eastern Carolina 3-A/4-A Conference victory. Jarman, who threw for 336 yards overall, said it was good to get one of the Rampants’ biggest threats involved.
“I think we are getting it back,” Jarman said. “It’s nice to have him, but we also have Jake Henry (Rogers) that’s 6-5 and Wesley Shade that’s 6-5. We have a lot of great players. Even the guys that aren’t that tall are still really good and go after it every game. I’m glad I have those kind of teammates with me.”
Jarman, a senior, turned in his most complete game of the year in surpassing 300 passing yards for the fourth time in his career (his career best is 421). He completed 20 of 32 passes with at least four drops, hitting on 8 of 12 for 167 yards in the first half and 12 of 20 for 169 yards in the second.
Harris had four catches in the first half, including a 33-yarder to set up one touchdown, and added six catches in the second half.
“It’s kind of getting back to how it last year was, getting more touches in the game,” Harris said. “It just feels good being able to help the offense down the field.”
The highlight of his night came on the opening possession of the third quarter when he made a remarkable diving catch for a 38-yard gain on fourth-and-11 from the CBA 46, setting up a 4-yard run by Grant Humphreys for a 28-0 lead.
“I kind of lost it in the lights for a second, and I realized I wasn’t going to get there if I didn’t dive, so I just laid out with my hands out and held on to it,” Harris said.
Jarman distributed the ball to six different receivers as the Rampants (4-2, 1-1 ECC) attacked more downfield in an effort to end a two-game skid and pick up their first conference win. Five completions covered at least 21 yards.
“We wanted to make sure we took some shots,” Rose head coach Dave Wojtecki said. “The last couple of games we didn’t take any shots downfield, and we want to do those things and stretch the field and make them play sideline to sideline and vertically. That was a big part of the game plan.”
Rose had to rely on its ground game to cap off all five of its scoring drives. Brice Bizzell scored on runs of 4 and 2 yards for a 14-0 lead. Humphreys plowed in from 1 yard for a 21-0 lead at the half and added a 4-yard run in the third quarter.
Receiver Zane Noles scored on a 10-yard jet sweep for a 35-6 lead with 3:05 to play.
“All week in practice we worked on red zone because we’ve kind of been struggling with that and I think it’s cost us some wins,” Jarman said. “We’ve also worked on the ‘Go’ balls because our percentage on catching those was really low, but tonight we connected on a couple of them. We did what we practiced all week, so I’m proud of that.”
Rose’s defense stymied a CBA offense that relied primarily on powerful 6-1, 235-pound junior Taevian Jackson and elusive junior quarterback Alijuan Moore. Jackson rushed for 126 yards on 26 carries and had a 96-yard fumble return wiped out by an inadvertent whistle. Moore rushed for 50 yards and passed for 92, but 63 of those came on the final drive that ended with a 50-yard scoring toss to Seth Shepard.
Rose held the Golden Falcons (2-3) to just 67 yards in the first half. Junior cornerback Silas James responded with two big plays, breaking up a fourth-down pass and snaring his third interception of the year. The Rampants also forced a fumble on CBA’s first snap of the third period.
“We’re improving every single game,” Wojtecki said. “They play hard every single week. They prepare hard every single week. It gives us great opportunities now when then offense gets rolling.”
The big blemish on the evening came in the form of injuries and a rash of penalties. Rose ended the night with more players on crutches including Shaquan Perry and Tyrone King. The Rampants were flagged nine times in the second half and 11 times overall for 122 yards. Desmond Arthur became the third Rose player ejected in three weeks.
Wojtecki said those areas will be addressed during Rose’s bye week before heading to Southern Wayne on Oct. 12.
“You’ve got to go back and continue to talk to the kids about why those things are happening and things you can’t do,” he said. “They’ve got to take some of the blame on themselves as well.”
Mike Grizzard of Winterville has more than 30 years of experience as a writer for both print and digital publications in the areas of sports, business, news, faith and personal profiles. Contact Mike at 252-916-4206.