Hart High football dared Downey High to climb off the mat Friday night at College of the Canyons.
The Downey Vikings, recipients of a beating in last week’s opener, rose and socked the Indians in the gut, capitalizing on a number of Hart defensive miscues and inconsistent offense in a 42-35 road win.
Hart (0-1) led 14-7 at halftime on the strength of two touchdown runs, the first a 4-yarder from Ben Rosen and the other a 3-yarder from quarterback JT Shrout.
Shrout’s TD run came three minutes before the break. He rolled out to his left, couldn’t find a receiver and dove through a tackle into the end zone.
The Vikings nearly broke even, though. Christopher Atkins intercepted Shrout at the Vikings 5 yard line and weaved his way back downfield. The Indians finally corralled him to the ground at the Hart 3 as the clock expired.
The second half wasn’t as forgiving.
The Indians struggled to tackle Downey (1-1) in open space, at times they struggled to cover. Quarterback Kijjon Foots hit a wide-open Nicholas Whitney late in the third to put Downey up 20-14.
Downey lined up to take the PAT, but the Indians jumped offsides twice in a row. With the ball moved up, Downey went for two, and went ahead by eight.
Early in the fourth the Vikings went up two scores on Atkins’ 4-yard run.
For a moment, the Indians found their footing, as Shrout found Da’Von Jones on a 58-yard touchdown strike with 10:44 left. Jones broke two tackles and burst up the sideline on the play.
Shrout completed 25-of-40 passes for 346 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. The second pick came with a little over two minutes left in the fourth.
Hart had the ball at its 17, down 35-28.
Kevin Caldwell ended any hopes of a comeback by stepping in front of a Shrout pass around the Hart 40.
DJ Palmer caught nine passes for 129 yards for the Indians, who didn’t play last week.
Hart entered the year with only 39 players on its roster, and Friday night’s heat didn’t benefit a team with multiple players going both ways.
Downey lost 56-0 to Santa Margarita in week zero.
Friday, Atkins got free for seven catches and 120 yards for the Vikings.