The difference between the junior Rebels' performances against Hoxie and Harrisburg was night and day.
Highland played at practice speed against the junior Mustangs, but they moved up to game speed against the junior Hornets.
The junior Rebel offense scored three times and the defense scored twice and held the junior Hornets scoreless until late into the game. The junior Rebels (1-1) notched their first win with a 36-6 drubbing of Harrisburg at home on Sept. 11.
"We've had nine days and we just came out and busted our tails, cleaning up all the mistakes we had last week. We played really awful last week," said Junior Rebel Head Coach Spencer Hill. "We talked a lot about being ready to play and last week we were not ready to play mentally. But tonight we were ready to play and that really showed on the field."
After starting the game with two incomplete passes, Sterling Stowers reeled off a 10-yard gain, and the junior Rebs didn't look back. They would eventually score on a 14-yard sweep by Stowers. Quarterback Garrett Sublett rushed up the middle for the 2-point conversion.
"That was our plan. We want to take two passes the first couple of plays and maybe back them off a little bit and I think that opened the run up," said Hill. "Got them kind of thinking about the pass a little bit."
After forcing a punt, Sublett swept to the left for a 24-yard touchdown. Stowers ran for the 2-point conversion.
Stowers intercepted junior Hornet quarterback Calen Wallace and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown. Once again, Sublett put the extra two points on the board.
The defense stopped Harrisburg deep in Highland territory, and the offense turned it into a score.
Stowers took the pitch 66 yards for another score. Sublett's pass to receiver Jarrett Powell went incomplete for the extra-point. The junior Rebels led 30-0 going into the half.
"(The speed of the game) is a big difference for eighth graders. It's always an eye opener for eighth graders to play junior high football," explained Hill. "And finally I think our eighth graders are getting adjusted to it and that showed tonight, especially with Sterling."
Wallace had just completed a 17-yard pass, when Xavier Wiend timed his sidelined pass, nabbing it in mid-flight, and taking it all the way to the house for a 50-yard touchdown.
Harrisburg scored when Wallace ran it in from three yards out.
Linebacker Josh Walls led the junior Rebels with six tackles. J.J. Moore had four.
Sublett completed one pass for 19 yards and had three carries for 58 yards. Stowers led all rushers with 145 yards on seven carries.
Highland will host the Greypups of Newport on Sept. 18.