Courtesy photo The Journal
The Harlem Huskies are ready to take on the Boylan Titans in a closely fought game.

By Bob Balgemann
Harlem’s sophomore football team had a couple of two-touchdown leads over Boylan in the early game played Oct. 4 at Boylan. But the Titans came roaring back late, to tie it. Then it was the Huskies turn to rally, on a 15-yard TD pass with 20 seconds left to play for a 35-28 victory.
A rally hurt the varsity in the second game of the evening, when the Titans came back from a 7-0 deficit to first tie the game and then win it, 21-13. After a defensive struggle through the first three quarters, three touchdowns were scored in the final seven minutes of that contest.
That set up another HUGE game for this Friday night, when Belvidere North comes to town for homecoming. That game will begin at 7:15 p.m.
The Blue Thunder (5-1) stunned Hononegah, 28-14, on Oct. 4 to take sole possession of second place in the NIC-10. Harlem now is 4-2 in the conference and tied with the Indians for third place.
Anyone who left the Harlem-Boylan sophomore homecoming game before it was over missed a lot.
It was all Harlem for most of the night as the Huskies mounted a 28-13 lead with 8:09 remaining in the fourth quarter. Here’s what happened before the dramatic finish:
* Harlem drove 71 yards with the opening kickoff to take a 7-0 lead on a five-yard run by Reid Foster with 7:32 left in the first period. Reese Mosley kicked the extra point.
* The Huskies followed with two consecutive scoring threats, but Boylan stopped both of them deep in Titan territory.
* Quarterback Charlie Weber III threw an 18-yard TD pass to Mosley at 2:53 of the second quarter for a 13-0 lead. Boylan rebounded with its first score of the game, but the Huskies answered moments later on a 76-yard kickoff return by freshman Deandre Young just 1:36 before halftime. The two-point conversion made it a 21-6 game for Harlem.
* A bad snap from center gave the Titans the ball at the Harlem 12 and they scored with 57 seconds left in the third quarter to pull within 21-13.
* Harlem took the aforementioned 28-13 lead when Mosley made a leaping catch of a touchdown pass on the right side of the end zone, at 8:09 of the fourth period. He also kicked the PAT.
Then things got tense a little less than two minutes later when Boylan drove 54 yards for a touchdown to trail by just 28-20 with 6:42 left to play.
Harlem got the ball back and marched 66 yards to the Titan four, where it was stopped on a fourth-down play. Boylan capitalized with a 96-yard TD drive that, coupled with a two-point conversion, tied it at 28-28 with 1:41 remaining.
Boylan messed up seconds later when an on-side kick went out of bounds at its 36-yard line. Weber teamed with Mosley on a 26-yard pass to the 10, but a holding penalty pushed the Huskies back to the 22. After a seven-yard run put them at the 15, Weber threw his third touchdown pass – to none other than Mosely – to decide the game with 20 seconds left to play.
The Titans had one last possession, which resulted in Michael Wiggs intercepting a pass as time expired.
Varsity game
Harlem scored the first touchdown of the night, with just 24 seconds left in the first half, on a pass from quarterback James Cooper II to receiver Brandt Hixson. Eric Serrano kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead. That held up until Boylan tied it with 6:27 left in the third quarter. Harlem was on the verge of regaining the lead when, at the Boylan three-yard-line, the Titans intercepted a pass in the end zone. Boylan then drove for the go-ahead TD with 7:21 remaining in the game. The Titans scored again at the 6:01 mark to go up, 21-6. Harlem bounced back right away, on a scoring pass from Cooper to Jalon Benson making it 21-13 with 5:24 left to go. But the Huskies could get no closer after that. Belvidere North is in its 13th year of existence, having opened its doors in 2007 after the split from Belvidere High School in neighboring Boone County. Harlem has won 10 of those 12 games, losing only on a forfeit in the Blue Thunder’s inaugural season and by 48-22 in 2014, when North finished 8-1, tied Hononegah for the NIC-10 championship and reached the playoffs for the third time in its history. The Blue Thunder made the playoffs earlier, in 2008 and 2009, advancing to the quarterfinals in 2009 where they lost to Crystal Lake Prairie Ridge, 28-20. They finished 10-2 overall in ’09. Harlem has won the last four games, 34-31, 46-28, 33-18 and, last season, by 33-15.

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