Smyrna High’s varsity football team fell to Middletown 39-22 in an action-packed Harvest Bowl on Friday night in Smyrna. The Eagles were able to hang with Middletown for much of the game, but the Cavaliers finally pulled away in the second half for the win.

 


Smyrna High’s varsity football team fell to Middletown 39-22 in an action-packed Harvest Bowl on Friday night in Smyrna.

The Eagles were able to hang with Middletown for much of the game, but the Cavaliers finally pulled away for the win.

The two teams traded blows throughout the first half, and it was Smyrna who landed the first haymaker.

The Eagles stunned the visiting Cavaliers on the third play from scrimmage, when quarterback Mark Wright connected with tight end Demetrius Williams for an 80-yard touchdown.

Middletown quickly responded, though, with a 15-yard touchdown run that tied the score at 7-7, still just a few minutes into the game.

The Cavaliers pulled ahead 13-6 early in the second quarter when quarterback Darius Wade scored on a 5-yard run. The extra point was blocked.

Later in the quarter, Smyrna running back Carlton Nash burst free for a 30-yard run. A personal foul penalty at the end of the play gave the Eagles 15 more yards and moved them to Middletown’s 20-yard line. The drive ended well for the Eagles as Wright and Williams combined on another touchdown pass, this time on a 15-yard throw into the end zone. Smyrna’s extra point was blocked, so the score remained tied at 13-13.

With three minutes left in the half, Middletown scored again on a 23-yard pass play. The Cavaliers led 19-13 after the extra point kick sailed wide left.

With time winding down in the half, Mark Wright’s pass over the middle was nearly intercepted by a Middletown defender, but Demetrius Williams, the intended receiver, was able to come down with the ball for a 28-yard gain. That play helped set up a 21-yard field goal by Matt Fillman, which made the score 19-16 with 14 seconds left in the half.

But that half wasn’t over. Middletown struck the Eagles with a 61-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the half. Middletown receiver Ron Godwin caught a deep pass in traffic, evaded Smyrna tacklers and ran into the end zone with no time left on the clock. To make matters worse, the Cavaliers ran in for a 2-point conversion and took a 27-16 lead into halftime.

Despite that deflating end to the first half, the Eagles wouldn’t go away. Early in the third quarter, Smyrna blocked a punt and Justin Coleman fell on the ball in the end zone for a touchdown. The 2-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful, but Smyrna cut the lead to 27-22 and reenergized the home crowd.

That’s as close as it would get, though. Middletown added a 1-yard touchdown on a quarterback sneak midway through the third, and scored again on a 10-yard touchdown play with six minutes left in the fourth quarter.

“I think if you’re fan, sitting in the bleachers on either side, that was a good football game to watch,” said Smyrna head coach Clay Lloyd after the game. “Obviously the final score shows that Middletown was the better team tonight.”

Coach Lloyd had no complaints about his team’s attitude and effort in the game.

“Even in a loss, I don’t think anyone gave up,” he said.

Friday night’s game was the first Harvest Bowl played in Smyrna since the series was discontinued for several years after the 2001 game. The rivalry was renewed last year, when the Cavaliers won 35-0 in Middletown.

As an interesting side note, Smyrna’s 22 points on Friday night was actually the Eagles’ second highest scoring total in the 19-game history of the Harvest Bowl series (1985-2001; 2009-10). The only time Smyrna scored more was in a 30-8 win in the 1990 Harvest Bowl.