Maday, making his first varsity start, throws game-winner in last minute as East Kentwood downs Harrison, 35-28
Farmington Hills – East Kentwood’s offense struggled throughout much of its game with Farmington Hills Harrison and the Falcons needed a spark, anything to change momentum.
East Kentwood’s defense provided a flame and quarterback Evan Maday ended it with his third touchdown pass with less than a minute to play.
Long interception returns by DaJuan Thomas and Keenan Williamson, the second went for a touchdown, and East Kentwood held on to defeat Harrison 35-28 in the opener on Friday.
Trailing 14-7 midway through the third quarter, quarterback Evan Maday completed a 65-yard touchdown pass to Andre Welch to tie the score at 14-14.
That touchdown energized East Kentwood’s defense and on second down Jamond Terrell sacked David Vinsky for a 5-yard loss. On the next play Thomas intercepted and returned it 35 yards to the Harrison 25. Four plays later Maday threw a 10-yard touchdown to Thomas to give the Falcons their first lead, 21-14, with 1:32 left in the third.
Harrison gained two first downs on the next series but on first down from the East Kentwood 44 Williamson intercepted and ran 72 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown and a 28-14 lead.
Harrison receiver Jamison Scarber brought the Hawks back as he caught touchdown passes of 10 and 40 yards from back-up quarterback Anthony Giovanni, the second with 3:28 remaining that tied the game at 28-28.
The Falcons and Maday, a junior making his first varsity start, still had time. Aided by a holding penalty and a defensive interference call, East Kentwood scored with 46.2 seconds left on Maday’s 13-yard touchdown pass to Joe Gomez. Gomez slipped out of the backfield and caught the ball at the 3 and motored in untouched.
“I just thought before the drive, we had to score,” Maday said. “We had to do anything to score. (The penalties) definitely helped. Anytime you get a 15-yarder, it helps.
“On the touchdown we checked to it at the last second. They were blitzing on the ends so he was open over the middle.”
Maday (18-37, 266 yards) helped set up the score with a 24-yard pass to Bret Patton.
East Kentwood coach Tony Kimbrough had nothing but praise for Maday.
“We can never make it easy,” Kimbrough said. “Give Harrison credit. (Maday) grew up tonight. I tried to check to that play but he already had done it.”
Harrison threw three interceptions (Williamson had two) and was penalized 12 times for 117. East Kentwood had eight penalties for 72 yards and did not commit a turnover.
“We came back,” Harrison coach John Herrington said. “They must have thrown like 50 passes. If we could have got our running game going we’d have been a lot better.
“We definitely have to clean up those penalties. I can understand the interference. I can live with that. The unsportsmanlike? There’s no excuse for that. We contained their run game but got us with theoir passing.”
Harrison’s defense helped create good field position for the offense in the first half as the Hawks held East Kentwood to 124 yards. They sacked Maday four times for 31 yards.
Harrison led 7-0 lead with 9:24 left in the half before East Kentwood started its only scoring drive of the half on its 39. Maday completed his first three passes of the drive to move the ball to Harrison’s 32. Maday’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Andre Welch tied the score at 7-7 with 2:43 remaining.
The Hawks went 60 yards in seven plays with Ty Armstrong bulling his way in from a yard out to give Harrison a 14-7 lead with 13.3 seconds left.