Carter Harris has an impressive vocabulary. The Elk Grove High School senior has the cranial chops to include “innate” and “bellcow” in his description of football, specifically, when talking about what it takes to quarterback the Thundering Herd’s triple-option offense and explaining running back Damian Allen.
Coach John Heffernan offers a simpler description of the 5-foot-6, 155-pound Harris: “He’s a natural.”
Harris directed an offense that rushed for 455 of its 492 total yards in knocking off previously undefeated Davis 42-35 in a Delta League opener Friday night in Davis.
He ran for 159 yards in 14 carries, including touchdowns of 51 and 8 yards, the latter the go-ahead touchdown with 11:19 left in the fourth quarter. His 2-point conversion run gave the Herd (3-1, 1-0 Delta) a 42-35 lead.
On a beautiful Davis evening, Harris directed scoring drives of 10 plays and 63 yards (answering a 90-yard return for a touchdown by Davis’ Xavier Chambers on the opening kickoff), six plays and 73 yards, and nine plays and 72 yards.
Harris handed off, pitched out and kept the ball in a game that saw Allen rush 21 times for 172 yards and four touchdowns, Tre’von Frazier eight times for 85 yards and Hunter Hall seven times for 38 yards. Harris even completed both of his passes, for 37 yards.
“He’s really starting to understand the nuances,” Heffernan said, “when to give it, when to pitch.”
Elk Grove needed every yard and point as Davis (4-1, 0-1) junior Luke Carrell passed for 220 yards and two touchdowns on 12 completions.
With the Herd set up to go up by two scores, at the Davis 7-yard line, the Blue Devils instead took a 28-27 lead early in the third quarter on Donovan Garvin’s 97-yard fumble return for a touchdown.
Harris – running behind the offensive line of Jacob Hudson, Elijah Vallier, Payton Maze, Jack Spithorst and Kylan Fontes – responded by directing a 73-yard scoring drive that included his 35-yard run and Allen’s 7-yard score.
“It’s the line. It all starts with them,” Harris said of the offensive line. “They got the job done.”
“It’s kind of innate,” he said of leading Elk Grove’s triple option. “I look at the outside shoulder, how they play on film. It’s different every play.”
Davis went on to take a 35-34 lead late in the third on Carrell’s 12-yard pass to Joey Asta, but three penalties on the Blue Devils – one nullifying a touchdown – and Khalani Riddick’s interception in the end zone ended it for Davis.
That, and three final runs by Allen.
“He’s like the bellcow of our offense,” Harris.