Farmington Hills Harrison's Roderick Heard finds an opening against Muskegon High Nov. 25 in the D-3 final. The Hawks fell 28-10.

Farmington Hills Harrison's Roderick Heard finds an opening against Muskegon High Nov. 25 in the D-3 final. The Hawks fell 28-10.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes


Farmington Hills Harrison falls to Muskegon in D-3 title game

By: Brandon Borman | Farmington Press | Published November 25, 2017

 Farmington Hills Harrison quarterback Noah Hendricks breaks through the Muskegon line.

Farmington Hills Harrison quarterback Noah Hendricks breaks through the Muskegon line.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes

 Muskegon's La'Darius Jefferson speaks with Harrison players following the game. The Muskegon quarterback finished with 247 yards rushing.

Muskegon's La'Darius Jefferson speaks with Harrison players following the game. The Muskegon quarterback finished with 247 yards rushing.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes

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DETROIT — Muskegon High quarterback La’Darius Jefferson rushed for 245 yards and four touchdowns as the Big Reds were able to down Farmington Hills Harrison 28-10 in the Division 3 final Nov. 25 at Ford Field.

Junior Ben Williams started the game off with a bang for the Hawks (10-4), returning the opening kickoff 91 yards giving them an early 7-0 lead. It was only the second time in state finals history that the opening kickoff was returned for points.

“That was great. Ben’s got great speed and he broke that one, it was a great start for us and that really kept us in the game early,” Harrison coach John Herrington said.

Muskegon (14-0) was able to answer on their first possession, driving the ball 80 yards and capping it off with an 8-yard run by Jefferson to tie the game at 7-7.

The Hawks regained the lead when kicker David Hiser hit a 26-yard field goal as time expired in the first quarter to put them up 10-7.

For most of the first half, both teams played a battle of field position, punting the ball away until someone took over the game or made a mistake.

That someone turned out to be Jefferson.

After breaking loose for a 55-yard run late in the second quarter, the senior was then able to score from 14 yards out to put the Big Reds up 14-10.

In the second half, it would be more of the same from Jefferson. He scored two more times, one from 1-yard out and another from 3 yards out to put his team up 28-10 in the fourth quarter.

“We thought we could stop him a little better than we did, but he kept sliding outside and we just had trouble bringing him down,” Herrington said. “He’s a big guy already and running behind 350-pound guys, that will really help out anyone.”

After the game Jefferson personally walked into the Harrison huddle to congratulate the Hawks on their season and let them know the respect is there.

“I told them you just have to help each other up, love each other and stay strong. This is a brotherhood and beyond football,” Jefferson said.

It wasn’t just Jefferson who felt that way. Muskegon coach Shane Fairfield knows just how special it is to coach against someone like Herrington.

“I’ve been fortunate to coach around and against some of the best coaches this state has had to offer, not many people can say that,” Fairfield said. “So to stand across the field from a guy like Herrington, it really is a true honor.”

As for the Hawks, the season may not have ended the way they liked, but Herrington knows that they have every reason to be proud of what they were able to accomplish.

“This was one of our best seasons ever, considering we didn’t even think we would make the playoffs at one point,” Herrington said. “But to get here and to make it this far is fantastic, our guys shouldn’t feel bad or disappointed at all.”

Next year is scheduled to be the last year for Harrison football, and Herrington knows they will have guys to field a team but admits it will be tough throughout the year knowing it’s all coming to an end.

“One more year, I’ll be back and it will be tough, but I will enjoy it, just like I enjoy them all,” Herrington said. “We’ve got some guys coming back — not a whole lot — but we’re still going to put a team together next year and have some fun. I do know that.”

 

 

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