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.
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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)