LORAIN — Just when you thought Elyria was turning the corner on its season, Lorain’s Mikey Harrell pulled the rug out from under the Pioneers.
It was Harrell’s 78-yard run early in the third quarter that took the wind out of the Pioneers’ sails and helped Lorain pulled away for a 38-17 win in the 105th renewal of this series that began in 1894. Lorain leads the series 55-45-4.
The Pioneers are 0-3 for the first time since 2002 but bounced back that year to finish 6-4. Lorain improved to 2-1.
Elyria had just tied the game at 14 just before halftime on two quick scoring passes by Dontae Beckett, who was making his first appearance of the season after spraining his ankle just prior to the opener.
Beckett found Deviian Williams for a 31-yard score with 3:51 left in the second quarter and then drove the Pioneers 85 yards in the last 1:54 to tie the game when Scott Ethington cradled an 11-yard pass in the back corner of the end zone with just 13 seconds left.
Caleb Lewis booted both extra points to tie the game and with Elyria set to receive the second-half kickoff, things suddenly looked good.
“I was infuriated with the second quarter,” Lorain coach Dave McFarland said. “It’s about character. You have to do the right things in life. When you get punched, you have to keep fighting. For some reason, something bad happened in the game and it snowballed.”
It continued to look good when Lorain’s onside kick rolled out of bounds, giving Elyria great field position at the Lorain 46 to start the final half. But the Pioneers couldn’t take advantage and were forced to punt.
“We came out and just laid an egg,” Elyria coach Sean Arno said. “(Dontae) came back and did a real nice job. It was a valiant effort from him. I’m glad to see him come back.”
“We challenged them at halftime to come out with energy,” McFarland said. “Football’s about toughness and I was real proud of the character of our kids in the second half. I think that was the difference.”
Enter Harrell, taking the handoff from Justin Sturgill at his own 22. He broke the line of scrimmage and raced untouched for the back-breaking score.
“I was excited,” Sturgill said. “He’s come a long way. I grew up with him and played with him since eighth grade. I knew he had the potential to do special things.”
“He’s not a real big kid,” McFarland said of Harrell. “He’s a 150-pound fullback. He was getting beat up a little bit when he hit that seam. That was a great play for us.”
Lewis did manage to kick a 27-yard field goal to draw Elyria within 20-17, but once more the Titans struck big. Sturgill split two Elyria defenders to hook up with Tyshawn Lighty for a 70-yard score and a 26-17 lead with 11:07 to play.
For Lighty, it was his third home run reception on the year, having scored from 61 and 80 in Lorain’s first two games.
“I knew (Lighty) could get the ball no matter where I placed it,” Sturgill said. “He’s one of those athletes you don’t really see that often. When he comes around, you just have to get him the ball.”
“Justin does some good things for us,” McFarland said. “He led us to a big win.”
The Titans added icing to the win when Isaiah McDowell picked up a fumble at Elyria’s 30-yard line and rumbled in for a score. Lorain added one final score as the clock wound down when Dakota Mincey broke free from 10 yards out with just 18 seconds left.
Lorain built a 14-0 lead in the second quarter and appeared on its way to an impressive win. Daylin Dower and Harrell both scored on short runs after the Titans drove 81 yards in 10 plays for the first score and 17 yards in three plays on the second following an Elyria turnover.
The Pioneers have coughed the ball up 10 times in their first three games.
“We’ve left our defense out there just too many times,” Arno said. “Honestly, our defense played well. They really did. They’re out there too long. We made too many mistakes. Various things and I’m not sure why.”
Lorain’s defense came up huge in the second half. Elyria had just six rushing yards to 240 by the Titans.
The game was delayed by lightning with 9:06 to play for a half-hour.
“It was a physical football game,” McFarland said. “It’s a rivalry game. I think (Elyria) is real physical. Having Beckett back changed a lot for everybody.”
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Lorain 38, Elyria 17
Elyria 0 14 0 3 — 17
Lorain 0 14 6 18 — 38
L—Daylin Dower 2 run (run failed)
L—Mikey Harrell 3 run (Davion Dower pass from Justin Sturgill)
E—Deviian Williams 31 pass from Dontae Beckett (Caleb Lewis kick)
E—Scott Ethington 11 pass from Beckett (Lewis kick)
L—Harrell 78 run (pass failed)
E—FG Lewis 27
L—Tyshawn Lighty 70 pass from Sturgill (pass failed)
L—Isaiah McDowell 30 fumble return (pass failed)
L—Dakota Mincey 10 run (kick failed)
First downs 11 13
— by rushing 2 10
— by passing 7 2
— by penalty 2 1
Yards rushing 6 240
Yards passing 220 114
Total offense 226 354
Passes att./comp. 31/17 8/4
Intercepted by 1 1
Fumbles/lost 3/2 2/2
Penalties/yards 7/45 10/101
RUSHING—(E) Tristan Arno 6-9, Keshaun Glover 2-3, Adaveon Drummer 1-2, Dontae Beckett 20-(-8). (L) Daylin Dower 18-95, Mikey Harrell 9-92, Justin Sturgill 7-26, Dakota Mincey 5-23, Zion Cross 1-18, Tyshawn Lighty 1-8, Cairo Smith 2-7, Savon Chavis 4-0, Team 1-(-21).
PASSING—(E) Dontae Beckett 14-21-161-2-0, Tristan Arno 2-9-43-0-1, Scott Ethington 1-1-16-0-0. (L) Justin Sturgill 3-8-114-1-1.
RECEIVING—(E) Deviian Williams 7-74, Tristan Arno 5-35, Adaveon Glover 2-43, Keshaun Glover 2-41, Jimmy Schill 1-16, Scott Ethington 1-11. Tyshawn Lighty 3-114, Ashaun Barker 1-0.