High School Sports

Defense stands tall for Howard

Courvosier King hasn’t seen much time on defense this season. But when the Howard quarterback was called upon to serve as an extra defender late in Friday’s game against Central, he made his time count.

King put the game away by picking off Central quarterback Derrick Evans deep inside Howard territory, securing the Huskies’ 16-8 victory at Henderson Stadium.

“He had a major, major impact on the game,” Howard linebacker Abel Grant said. “That was a big way to close out the game.”

On a night in which Howard’s running back duo of Tahjae Morant and JaQwun Stinson combined for 255 yards, the Huskies’ defense found a way to shut down Central’s fourth-quarter comeback bid. Howard recorded three of its four interceptions in the final 12 minutes, including the one by King with 37 seconds remaining.

Central (1-1) scored its lone touchdown with 3:13 to go in the game when Evans found Bobby Cummings from 20 yards out. Evans ran in the two-point conversion, making the game a one-possession affair.

After the Chargers held Howard (1-1-1) to a three-and-out, Central started its final drive on Howard’s 40 with 1:54 to go. The Chargers drove to the Howard 26, where King came up with the interception at the Howard 12.

“There are no moral victories in football,” Central head coach Jesse Hicks said. “We didn’t play well enough to win. You either get it done, or you don’t.”

Howard’s defense, which held Central to 138 all-purpose yards for the game and five first downs in the second half (three via penalty), was able to rest for much of the third quarter thanks to the Huskies’ pound-it-out, ball control offense.

With Howard continually handing the ball off to Morant and Stinson out of the I-formation, the Huskies held onto the ball for eight minutes and 36 seconds in the third quarter. Howard scored on a 7-yard run from King in the third, giving the Huskies a 9-0 lead heading into the fourth after picking up a safety in the first half.

“That was a big help for us,” Grant said. “They moved the ball and put up points against a good Central defense. That rest was key in a close game.”

Howard added a 3-yard scoring pass from King to Jerin Means with 5:27 to go in the fourth, prior to Central’s late surge.

Stinson, a junior fullback, rushed for 130 yards, while Morant, a senior tailback, finished with 125 yards.

“We played two good teams, and that was the third one,” Howard head coach Barney Hester said. “We keep getting better. We just have to keep fighting.”