COLORADO SPRINGS — In the first half, Aumiere Shedrick looked like he could barely stand up. The 200-plus-pound running back for Harrison was nursing what turned out to be a hyper-extended knee and without him, it was difficult for the Panthers to find the end zone.
That wasn't the case in the second half. In the final 24 minutes of the game, Shedrick ran for 190 yards and three touchdowns to power Class 3A No. 7 Harrison to a 20-7 win over Pueblo Central on Friday night.
When Shedrick limped over to the sideline in the first quarter, he wouldn't have dreamed of putting together such a gutty performance where he finished with 253 total rushing yards.
"Not possible," he said. "I was going to do what I do best and get a few yards here and there, but I didn't expect to come away with 250."
The Panthers (4-0 overall) were getting okay offensive production in the first half, but couldn't find a way to get the ball into the end zone.
It was the Wildcats (3-1) who struck first, mostly in part to a 24-yard pass from Ryley Roth to Nicholas Krasovic that set up a Nico Martin touchdown run.
Central held the 7-0 into halftime, but momentum quickly shifted to Harrison. Shedrick and quarterback Orlando Westbrook marched the Panthers down the field on the first drive of the half where Shedrick got into the end zone from two yards out.
That score opened the flood gates for the ground game.
"There are nights where we've come out and thrown for 350 yards," Harrison coach Al Melo said. "The way we established our tempo in the first half, I think it wore them down a bit. We were able to establish the running game and when we got that going, they were on their heels."
An interception from Sergio Alvarado gave the Panthers the ball back and Shedrick, with his one and a half legs, found the end zone again, this time from 20 yards to give Harrison its first lead of the game about halfway through the third quarter.
"He's a good size kid, man," Central coach Kris Cotterman said. "He runs hard and did a great job."
A sliver of hope remained for the Wildcats after Al Ashford muffed a punt to give them the ball back in Harrison territory. But the defense held up and Ashford later made a key interception with 7:47 left in the game to all but ice it.
"He's a sophomore and he's a heck of a DB," Melo said. "We've told him all year don't let the ball bounce because then we give up yards, but that was a long way to run to make a fair catch. Our defense stood up and made some great plays so it didn't hurt us."
The Panthers will head south next week to face Pueblo County in their final non-league game. The Wildcats will return home to face Sand Creek in a game where Cotterman looks forward to correcting the mistakes made on Friday.
"We lost the game, but we played with effort," he said. "That's how we're building our program is by fixing mistakes and we'll just keep playing with effort."