What is normally a riveting rivalry turned into a rout, as Harlem won its home opener 41-19 over Aquinas on Friday night.
Kelvin Sturgis struck for three touchdowns, and Domonique Brown rushed for 105 yards on just seven carries, as the Bulldogs rolled up 299 rushing yards during the first half. Tae Dorsey and Tim Camp tacked on first-half touchdowns, while Larry Crawford added a scoring run to give Harlem a 41-7 lead early in the third quarter.
At that point, Harlem coach Jimmie Lewis called off the Dogs and inserted his substitutes. Aquinas responded with 13 fourth-quarter points on touchdown runs by David Sanborn and Walter Utley.
"I was super worried before the game, because when you play Aquinas you play a tough football team," Lewis said. "We won pretty easily, and we're getting better every week."
Harlem (1-1-1) has displayed a solid offense this season, and the Dogs continued that trend against Aquinas (0-1), using misdirection runs and precise option plays.
The Dogs dazzled with rushing statistics, but the Harlem defense earned the win by limiting the Irish to 71 total yards in the first half. Camp, Crawford, Josh Wilmoth and Marco McGahee dished out a heap of blistering tackles.
"After a tie and a close loss, we were ready for a win," Harlem lineman Tyler Holley said. "We didn't want to win a close one - we wanted to win big."
On Harlem's first play from scrimmage, Brown cut to the sidelines for a 39-yard gain on an option keeper. Sturgis followed with a 25-yard scoring run.
Utley returned the ensuing kickoff 82 yards, setting up a game-tying run by Doug Staley.
The rest of the night belonged to Harlem. Sturgis ran for another 25-yard score and Dorsey bulled across the goal line on the Dogs' next possession. Brown's 18-yard touchdown pass to Sturgis on a fourth-down play increased the lead to 27-7.