HARVARD — After such a slow start in last week’s season opener, Harvard knew something had to change. With starting strong the focus of the week, the results on Friday night against Woodstock North impressed beyond the Hornets’ imagination.
“In my years of playing football, honestly the first quarter was probably the best quarter of football I’ve ever been a part of,” said Harvard senior lineman Nathan Rosas.
And that 21-point first quarter paved the way to a hard-fought 34-22 win over the visiting Thunder.
The Hornets needed just four plays at the beginning of the game to put points on the board. Senior running back Eduardo Flores capped off the first drive with a 20-yard touchdown run. On their next possession, Bailey Livdahl raced 72 yards on a two-play drive to make it 14-0, and then quarterback Lee Galarza weaved his way in from 15 yards to give the Hornets (1-1) a very quick 21-0 lead.
“Last week, it was tough, so this week we knew in practice that we absolutely had to come out fighting hard, we had to try to smack them in the mouth and go from there,” Livdahl said.
Livdahl, the senior running back, led the way. In the first quarter alone, he ran for 107 yards on six carries. He ended the game with 267 rushing yards on 20 carries. He knew, though, that he had a lot of help.
“Without the offensive line, I’m nothing. Glad I have them and I can’t get the yards unless they are doing their job and they were great,” Livdahl said.
Livdahl also had an impact on defense, recovering a fumble and recording a key sack late in the game.
Flores had a big night, as well. The senior ran for 91 yards on six carries and two touchdowns.
It was a frustrating night for the Thunder (0-2). Between injuries, inconsistent play and missed opportunities, they rallied and showed their character. Jacob Baun scored their first touchdown with a 3-yard run in the second quarter, and kicker Luke Udelhofen nailed a 30-yard field goal at the end of the half to chip away at Harvard’s lead.
In the third quarter, Woodstock North’s offense started to roll. Quarterback Jay Zinnen, who went 7-of-11 passing for 101 yards, made a perfect throw to Baun to connect on a 37-yard TD strike. Thunder running back Henry Goetz was productive running the ball, rushing for 101 yards on 26 carries while also fighting into the end zone in the third quarter to cut Harvard’s lead to single digits.
“We had multiple injuries and guys were stepping up and playing their guts out,” Woodstock North coach Jeff Schroeder said. “I love the fight this team has and we really put ourselves in a position tonight to come back win this thing.”