Stanhope Elmore entered into Ned Bearden Stadium expecting to walk out with a victory but Pelham got off to a quick start and never let the Mustangs get within one possession. While correcting the issues from the loss is the main focus for Stanhope Elmore moving forward, it was hard not to recognize the performance from Teddy Harris.
Harris did everything for the Mustangs’ offense and his explosive ability gave Stanhope Elmore plenty of confidence despite the deficit. Harris racked up 189 yards of total offense and scored all four of the team’s touchdowns, earning himself this week’s Elmore County Player of the Week.
“It’s hard because I don’t think we played like we should have as a team,” Stanhope Elmore coach Brian Bradford said. “It’s hard to focus on it but you can’t go without noticing what kind of night he had. He is a very dynamic player and a great kid. He’s just everything you want in a football player.”
Harris earned praise for his performance from some of his teammates across social media over the weekend but he wasn’t going to take credit for anything because it wasn’t enough for his team to get the region victory. Harris said it’s not easy to focus on individual accomplishments when you go back home with a loss.
“I don’t want to say it’s easy,” Harris said. “I started to realize it but I started looking at the scoreboard and saw it wasn’t good enough. You still want to get the win. Having stats is cool but I’d rather get the win.”
When the Mustangs went down early, they began to take more shots down the field and Harris was often on the receiving end of it. He only needed four catches to record 157 yards and three touchdowns through the air.
He was quarterback Trey Killingsworth’s favorite target throughout the night and accounted for nearly all of the production through the air. Harris said that connection comes through plenty of hard work together and the relationship between those two players has been noticed from the coaching staff.
Bradford said he has had to run off Killingsworth and Harris from the practice field after dark more than once because they never stop working together. That has been the case since both players decided to transfer back to Stanhope Elmore for their senior seasons.
“During the summer, when we decided we were going to come back to Stanhope, we were working together a lot,” Harris said. “We were getting that chemistry back. It feels good to work with a quarterback that you know a lot.”
Harris is also a threat in the running game, getting plenty of carries on outside runs to use his speed. But he is also the go-to back in the team’s power run formation, scoring once in that role against Pelham.
“He’s got that it factor,” Bradford said. “He’s small but he’s so elusive and so powerful. He’s not a 200-pound running back but he runs like it.”
After Harris’ big performance, Harris said he has a higher standard to live up to week in and week out. Bradford said his expectations for Harris have not changed too much but he knows this performance will raise some eyebrows.
“It doesn’t really raise it because we know what he’s got.” Bradford said. “Every time he touches the football, he has a chance to score. This is going to make it from harder for him but it will also help everything else in the offense as well.”