Hargrave Sneaks By MU Sub-Varsity, 13-9

Last season, Hargrave Military came to Huntington and buried the Herd's sub-varsity, 26-0. This year, however, the Herd's backups played straight up with the program rated by some recruiting services as the "Lead Prep School" in the nation, falling 13-9 in a defensive struggle. Hargrave was led by the nation's top prep star, Deangelo Benton, who scored the only offensive touchdown of the game.

Marshall went with just 25 players, and four of that group were kickers or punters. But with players like former Cabell Midland safety Tyler Torlone and sophomore linebacker Antawn Booker each recording 11 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, one sack, a pass broken up and two quarterback pressures between them, the Herd managed to make the game go down to the wire. Former Capital High School lineman James Burkes played both offense and defense, as did most of the linemen for the Green and White, but really shone on defense. Burkes ripped out the ball from Hargrave quarterback Cannon Smith and recovered it in the end zone for the Herd's only touchdown. He had five tackles, a sack on the the fumble play and recorded one other fumble recovery.

Deangelo Benton, rated by some services as the top player in prep school, caught four balls for 62 yards and the only offensive touchdown of the game for Hargrave in a hard-fought 13-9 win over the Herd sub-varsity on Sunday. photo from scout.com

For the Tigers, they had other players who stood out besides Benton, who caught four passes for 62 yards and the 19-yard touchdown. Benton committed to LSU, but recently Virginia Tech has entered the recruiting picture. Another former Cabell Midland Knight had a big day back home as Christian Edwards was the team captain and rushed for 68 yards on 12 carries. It was a bit of a shock when he realized the No. 33 for the Herd making the tackle on him was a former high school teammate at Midland, about 10 miles from Huntington.

"That's my boy," said Edwards of his teammate Torlone, who both helped Cabell Midland to advance to the West Virginia AAA playoffs the last three years. "I wasn't sure it was him until he rolled over and I saw Torlone on the back of his jersey. We got to catchup real quick on the field after the game." Edwards is at Hargrave like most of the players there, trying to attract the attention of some football program to get a scholarship at the next level, but today was special being at home. "Yeah, that felt good, being at home with some fans cheering for me," said Edwards, who has spoken with Duke and Virginia about playing college football. "I was great to get the win. Reminded me of my high school days, getting the win in front of my family and friends." If Marshall was to come calling, Edwards would listen. "I'm trying to see what's out there and what's best for me."

Edwards was also happy to hear the Knights had picked up their first win on Friday. "I heard they have been struggling some, and got to talk to Jordan Marcum, who is on the team, about getting their first win." Being at a prep school is no easy transition from the freedoms enjoyed in high school, but Edwards is coping with all that entails. "Hargrave is a military school, and we march, wear uniforms and its different. But I hope it leads me to the place I want to be."

Hargrave also got big games out of Enrique Davis (committed to Auburn), who rushed for 75 yards on 12 carries. Punter William Short, who is not committed, punted four times for a 39.0 yard average and placed two inside the seven-yard line. Dwight Jones (North Carolina), rated the number two player in prep school by Rivals.com, had one catch for 32 yards. Smith passed for 9-of-17 for 101 yards and one touchdown, but had an interception, four fumbles (one lost for a touchdown) and also rushed seven times for minus-17 yards.

Defensively, the Tigers were led in tackles by Kent Walker with seven stops and one tackle for a three-yard loss. Quillie Odom (Virginia Tech) had six tackles and an interception, while Kyle Kozak, who played both center and defensive line, recovered a punt blocked by Zach Brown in the end zone for a score in the third quarter that proved to be the difference in the game. Kozak added two tackles and a five-yard tackle for loss. Marques Jenkins had five tackles and a quarterback pressure.

The Herd might have won the game if a quarterback had been available, but with true freshmen Chris Smith and Mark Cann being red-shirted for now, and Wesley Beardain backing up Brian Anderson with Bernard Morris a question mark again for the Herd's game with Cincinnati, the sub-varsity turned to a safety and wide receiver to take snaps. Wide out Tavaris Thompson was 0-for-3 with an interception and rushed seven times for minus-nine yards in his time behind center. Thompson was helped from the field when he was bent backwards on a tackle, but appeared back on the sideline with ice on his left knee.

Pete Culicerto, a Herd defensive back, was a bit more effective when he hit 3-of-13 for 10 yards and an interception, and rushed once for minus-two yards. Leading the Herd on offense was a surprising Booker, who jumped into tailback and led Marshall in rushing with 42 yards on six attempts, a seven yards per carry average.

Antwan Booker, shown in a scrimmage earlier this year, led the Herd in rushing with 42 yards on six carries, and recorded a sack, 2.5 tackles for loss and two quarterback pressures in the Hargrave-Herd sub-varsity game Sunday. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff

Marshall's back-up kicker Elliot Boyd made the game a 6-3 affair when he nailed a 42-yard field goal with 3:33 to play in the first half. Boyd is behind Anthony Binswanger, who is 4-of-6 this year for the varsity on field goals. Wide out Kyle Echols caught two passes for 11 yards and returned a kickoff 25 yards, while corner D.J. Wingate had an 11-yard punt return to go with a couple of tackles on defense. Others on defense who played well included Brent Traylor (four tackles, a sack and three tackles for loss), DeMetrius Thompson (eight stops, a tackle for loss and a pressure on the QB) and Scott Gray, a true freshman linebacker from Union, Kentucky, had five tackles and an interception of Cannon that he returned for 14 yards.

Cannon was knocked down five or six times by the Herd, with Chad Clay (six tackles, pass broken up and 0.5 tackle for loss) and Booker putting him temporarily on the sidelines with vicious hits. Burkes, Marcus Moresea (who played center, defensive line and long-snapped) and D. Thompson all knocked Cannon to the turf at the Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Marshall will play a second sub-varsity game on September 29 against Harmony Community School, where Herd recruit Vinny Curry played last year in Cincinnati. Recent Hargrave players to join the Herd are Dennis Thornton, who finished his career last season, and current team members Chubb Small, Cody Slate and Mario Harvey.

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