The X in Xavier Harris is for X-factor.
The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Service junior ran for two scores and 104 yards on six carries, hit 2 of 3 passes for 16 yards, intercepted three passes including one for an 80-yard score, passed for a two-point conversion and kicked an extra point in the Cougars’ 46-13 nonconference victory at Ed Hollier Field in Kenai on Friday.
“18 is a jack of all trades,” Service head coach Jason Caldarera said. “He can run, pass, return, kick — everything.”
The Cougars also got 165 yards rushing and two scores from Dominik Norman and 5-of-6 passing and one TD from Jason Villanueva in improving to 2-0 after finishing 1-7 a year ago.
“We had a young team and we only lost four seniors,” Caldarera said. “We’re trying to rebuild our culture and the kids have really bought into it, starting in the offseason.”
The rebuilt Cougars overwhelmed all the Kardinals’ best-laid plans, taking a 27-0 lead after one quarter in dropping Kenai to 0-2.
Kenai head coach Davis Lowery said three points of emphasis were not giving up big plays, not committing turnovers and making Service pay for blitzing.
But Kenai quarterback Chase Gillies, who was 17 of 36 for 215 yards with a passing and rushing touchdown, threw five interceptions in the game, including three in the first quarter. The Cougars also had five scoring plays that went for over 30 yards.
“We knew from the South game that they had an athletic quarterback, and we wanted to put pressure on him,” Caldarera said.
The Kardinals were able to move the ball, but ultimately the Service blitz forced game-altering mistakes.
“Our goal was to capitalize on the blitz,” Lowery said. “That happened on the first play of the game and a few plays after that, but it didn’t happen enough.”
Lowery said two of the Kardinals’ big guns on offense — Gillies and Zack Tuttle — played despite flulike symptoms. Tuttle had 112 yards receiving before departing in the third quarter. Kenai also finished the game missing three offensive linemen.
But the Kenai head coach said that does nothing to detract from an impressive performance by the Cougars.
“Service played an outstanding ballgame,” Lowery said. “They looked good on the hoof. They have a lot of impressive talent.”
Lowery said that by the end of the game, he had three or four players that were swinging up from JV on the field. He said seniors Nick Beeson and Jonathan Delgado did a good job providing leadership as times got trying.
“I’m proud of the kids again this week,” Lowery said. “They kept fighting, we just have to get better technically.”
Cougars 46, Kardinals 13
Service 27 6 13 0 —46
Kenai 0 0 6 7 —13
Ser — X. Harris 5 run (X. Harris kick), 9:51.
Ser — Norman 63 run (kick failed), 5:45.
Ser — X. Harris 60 run (run failed), 4:23.
Ser — Wade 5 run (Hogan pass from X. Harris), 3:38.
Ser — Hogan 38 pass from Villanueva (kick failed), 4:37.
Ser — Norman 31 run (kick failed), 11:36.
Ken — Gillies 10 run (run failed), 6:39.
Ser — X. Harris 80 interception return (Fromm kick), 0:13.
Ken — Heiber 16 pass from Gillies (Landry kick), 8:02.
First downs 11 10
Rushes-yards 33-319 18-54
Passing yards 90 215
Comp-att-int 7-9-0 17-37-5
Return yards 80 0
Punts 3-21.0 4-25.5
Fumbles 0-0 0-0
Penalties 7-60 3-20
Rushing — Service: Norman 11-165, X. Harris 6-104, Wade 2-6, O’Farrell 5-18, Villanueva 1-(-2), M. Williams 7-21, Harvin 1-7. Kenai: R. Riddall 5-(-1), Beeson 3-35, Gillies 10-20.
Passing — Service: X. Harris 2-3-0—16; Villanueva 5-6-0—74. Kenai: Gillies 17-36-5—215; Heiber 0-1-0—0.