Harmony Community School, riding a 19-game winning streak, out gained the Kats 110-26 in the tightly contested first half. They led 7-0 on the strength of a Calvin Mann 6-yard touchdown reception with 1:02 left in the first half. The Hurricanes gained 75 of their 110 yards on the scoring drive.
Durell Abney (Mount Vernon, NY/Mount Vernon) had two first half interceptions to stop Harmony deep in ECC territory.
The second half opened with an exchange of punts and the Kats being intercepted on their next two possessions. The ECC defense held strong, allowing minus six yards on the two Harmony possessions following the interceptions.
Harmony scored after another ECC punt when Nate Francisco returned a John Rachuna punt 43 yards to the Erie 37-yard line. Harmony went 37 yards in seven plays, scoring on a 11-yard pass from Terrell Robinson to Roland Woodland to make the score 13-0 with 8:47 left in the game. A missed extra point on the ensuing PAT proved to be costly.
Following the kickoff, Erie made a key adjustment by moving quarterback Andre Barbosa (Hyannis, MA/Barnstable) into the shotgun. A 41-yard kickoff return by Brad Hill (Pittsburgh, PA/North Hills) to the Harmony 49 yard line set the Kats up with great field position.
Barbosa hit Chris Hart (Syracuse, NY/Onondaga) with a key 28-yard pass to the Hurricanes 21-yard line on second and ten. Barbosa then capped the drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Valentin (PHOTO ABOVE; Freeport, NY/Freeport) to make the score 13-7 with 6:10 remaining in the game. On the scoring play, Harmony also was called for a personal foul for roughing the passer.
Kicking off from the 45-yard line, ECC was able to pin Harmony deep in their own territory, forcing a punt. ECC took over at the Harmony 48-yard line and scored on a seven play drive that concluded with another Valentin touchdown, this one from 15 yards. The key play of the drive was 12-yard slant pass to Yousif Youboty (Klein, TX/Klein). John Rachuna added the extra point to make the score 14-13 with 2:30 left in the game.
Harmony did have one last chance to win the game when they drove 43 yards in 11 plays and set up a field goal attempt with one second remaining from 40 yards. Tim Williams missed the attempt and gave Erie the win.
For the game, John Rachuna (Jamestown, NY/Frewsburg) broke his own school record by averaging 49.8 yards on five punts, including a 61 yard punt.
Offensively, the Kats were led by Valentin with four receptions for 51 yards and two touchdowns. Barbosa was 10-21 for 113 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.
On the defensive side, ECC’s defense held Harmony to 16 yards rushing on 30 attempts for a 0.5 yard average. Ackim Thomas (Miramar, FL/Miramar) led the Kats with eleven tackles, eight solo. Cortez Robinson (Maple Hts, OH/Maple Heights) had nine tackles, 3.5 for loss with two sacks.
The Kats will play Berean Institute in their home opener on Saturday September 8 at Jim Ball Stadium at 1 pm.