HAMILTON, Ga. -- In a game with tons of offense, the Harris County High School defense had a chance to change the momentum with 4:16 remaining in the fourth quarter.
On fourth-and-2, leading by only five points Houston County High School opted to go for a first down rather than a field goal.
The gamble paid off as back-up quarterback Zach Taisler broke the line of scrimmage and scored from 14 yards out to preserve the Bears' win, 35-23, Friday night in Hamilton.
After turning the ball over on downs on its next possession the Tigers appeared to be finished. It was again a gamble by the Bears that gave Harris County hope.
With only 2:09 Houston County opted to run a quick snap rather than run time off the clock. Tyler Denova stripped the ball from Taisler with 1:54 remaining in the game.
Justin Wright hit Tae Crowder with a pass that he turned into a 68-yard gain setting up the Tigers on the Bear 19-yard line. Wright was intercepted in the endzone on the next play to end the threat. The Tigers ended the game with 490 yards of total offense while the Bears had 479 yards.
The Tigers took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter on an Isaac Grimes 28-yard field goal.
After scrambling Taylor Boyett found Brenten Lindsey behind the Tiger defense for a 75-yard pass and a 7-3 lead.
Harris County answered immediately with a three play 80-yard drive when Wright hit Tae Crowder in stride on a screen pass allowing him to race into the end zone. A bad snap on the point after attempt resulted in the Tigers only taking a 9-7 lead into the second quarter.
In a period of 2:13 seconds of the second quarter touchdowns were scored on plays of 95, 82 and 44 yards.
Houston County went 84-yards in three plays when Myles White outjumped a Tiger defender at midfield for a Taylor Boyett pass and went 95-yards for the score and a 14-9 lead with 9:42 in the half. Harris County had its own three play drive that covered 75-yards and was capped by Wright's pass to Esaias Chapman for a 16-14 lead with 8:01 remaining in the half.
Houston County went 50-yards again in three plays. This time it was a Samsun West run for a 21-16 lead with 7:04 remaining before half.
Friday at Tiger Stadium
Houston County 7 14 7 7--35
Harris County 9 7 0 7--23
Harris- Isaac Grimes 28 Field Goal, 6:32
Houston- Brensten Lindsey 75 pass from Taylor Boyett ( Will Cowart kick), 4:21
Harris- Tae Crowder 15 pass from Justin Wright (bad snap run failed), 3:18
Houston- Myles White 95 pass from Boyett (Cowart kick), 9:42
Harris- Esaias Chapman 82 pass from Wright (kick), 8:01
Houston- Samsun West 44 run (Cowart kick), 7:04
Houston- Boyett 4 run (Cowart kick), 8:40
Harris DiQuan Roberts 46 pass from Wright (kick), 10:10
Houston- Zach Taisler 14 run (Cowart kick), 4:16
Records: Houston County 1-0, Harris County 0-1. Next: Harris County at LaGrange Thursday