By Chris Parsons / The Endzone Staff
BEREA — The Whitley County Colonels took one on the chin Friday as Madison Southern's Damien Harris made good on the hype surrounding him this season.
Harris, a University of Michigan signee, rushed for 257 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Eagles to a 56-14 win over Whitley County, sending Jim Black's squad to an 0-2 start for the second time in five seasons.
After the win, Black was not only disappointed with the loss, he was apologetic for the play of his team.
“I apologize to the fans that came up here and watched us because that wasn’t football,” Black said. “We didn’t execute, we didn’t follow the game-plan that we laid out for the game and there was really no excuse for the way they played.
“It was the worst football I’ve ever seen since I've coached at Whitley County,” Black said. “I’ll give credit to the underclassmen because they came in and showed more fire and determination than our older kids. I can lose 56-14 with a jayvee team, so I’ll play the kids that want to play.”
The Colonels looked poised to challenge Madison Southern when they opened the game with a six-minute drive, but took a step back when the drive stalled with no points to show from it.
The Eagles answered with a nine-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by Harris' first touchdown of the game when he scored from four yards out to put his team on top, 7-0.
Madison Southern struck again in the second quarter when Tyler Hagan broke free for a 66-yard touchdown run to push the lead to 14-0 with just under seven minutes to play in the first half.
That’s when things got ugly in a hurry.
Harris tallied two more touchdowns in the final 3:29 of the second quarter, scoring from 66 and 86 yards to give the Eagles a 35-0 lead at halftime.
Harris didn’t waste any time getting things started in the second half when he broke free for his fifth touchdown of the game, this time from 46 yards out to stretch the lead to 42-0 just 14 seconds into third quarter.
Hagan would add two more touchdowns before Whitley County got on the scoreboard as Austin Hooper scored on a 78-yard touchdown run to trim the gap to 56-7. The Colonels added one more score to make the final score 56-14.
Things won't get any easier for Black's squad, which will host Bell County next week at Colonels Stadium. As his focus shifts to the Bobcats, Black said he'll be happy to play at home, but said whether the fans show up is another subject.
“It’ll be great to be able to play at home, but after this I'm not sure if any of the fans will show up to watch,” Black said. “I know I wouldn’t spend my hard-earned money to watch a team like this play the kind of football we played.”