Running back Khamal Howard rushed for 159 yards on 23 carries and scored three touchdowns as East Mecklenburg overwhelmed visiting Harding 56-6 Friday night.
The Eagles, who won their second straight, ended Harding two-game winning streak.
In the win, East Mecklenburg also had an interception return for a touchdown by linebacker Tershawn Reed, and Davis Cotton added a 21-yard run for a score and blocked a punt.
The Eagles’ TJ Elliott also blocked a punt and ran for a two-point conversion. East Meck took the two Harding blocked punts and turned them into short-field scores. The Eagles led 42-6 at halftime en route to the win.
East Meck’s running backs Howard, Cotton, Khalil Woods and Tevin Sinkler benefitted from the play of the Eagles’ offensive line of Cody Davis, Mathias Poku-kankam, Daniel Carter, Chris Walden and JT Faucette, who created running room. East Meck gained 230 yards rushing.
The Eagles, under second-year coach Barry Shuford, will try to improve to 4-1 next Friday against Southwestern 4A rival Providence.
“We were very fortunate as that was the turning point in our season over there (at Providence) last year,” said Shuford. “We were 1-3 and they were favored. We kind of shocked them a little bit when we went up 21-0. It was a big win for us.”
WORTH MENTIONING: After three straight road games to open the season, the Eagles played at home for the first time and wore new uniforms.
QUOTE: “We bought brand new uniforms this year, blue ones, and we hadn’t gotten to wear them yet this season except for picture day. It was real good tonight. This is a fun place to play.” - East Meck coach Barry Shuford
RECORDS: East Meck is 3-1; Harding is 2-2.
WHAT’S NEXT: East Meck hosts Providence next Friday. Harding has a bye week before hosting South Mecklenburg on Friday, Sept. 23.
Cotton Davis 21 run; (Christian Thomas kick)
Tarshawn Reed 21 INT for TD; (TJ Elliot run for 2-pt conversion)
Jaquan Rankin 15 pass from Braheam Murphy; (2-pt conversion failed)
Khalil Gilliam 1 run; (Thomas kick)
Khamal Howard 21 run; (2-pt conversion failed)
Howard 3 run; (Thomas kick)
Khalil Woods 2 run; (Thomas kick)
Howard 10 run; (Thomas kick)
Damonta Sowell 10 run; (Thomas kick)