Farmington Hills — Carter Farris made big plays with his arm and legs Friday night to help Rochester Adams remain in the hunt for a state playoff appearance while preventing Farmington Hills Harrison from punching its postseason ticket.
Farris, a dual-threat junior quarterback, threw for 116 yards, rushed for 88 and had two total touchdowns, including a 6-yard scoring toss to Jack Bishop with 26 seconds left to lift Adams to a 24-17 victory in an Oakland Activities Association crossover game.
“Carter ran his butt off in the first half, then we asked him to throw down the stretch there and he made some big plays," Adams coach Tony Patritto said. "This was a huge night in terms of his progression as a quarterback."
Farris helped Adams (4-3) take a 7-0 lead on its opening series when he broke loose for a 34-yard option run, setting up his 15-yard touchdown run.
Farris led a 13-play, 85-yard drive on Adams’ next series, finding Anthony Patritto for a 20-yard gain on third-and-7 play. Then after Maurice Swain ripped off a 13-yard run on a third-and-long, Patritto ended the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run.
Adams increased the lead to 17-0 at halftime with a last-minute drive. Farris hit Patritto for a 9-yard pass near the right sideline to set up a 44-yard field goal by Ben Patton on the final play of the half.
But, Farris was never better than on Adams’ final possession when he completed five consecutive passes for 64 yards on the 80-yard drive, ending with Bishop's sensational one-handed grab in the left corner of the end zone after Harrison (5-2) scored 17 unanswered points in the second half to pull even.
Adams had three three-and-outs in the second half before the winning drive.
“Obviously the momentum kind of shifted in their favor after we were up 17-0, but we trusted the coaches and knew if we run our stuff right we’ll go down there and score and we did," Farris said.
“We, at the end, went into a jumbo set, which most teams have us running in the jumbo, so we ran a little fake, ran a drag across the field and nobody covered him (Bishop) and he grabbed it. It was an amazing catch.”
Adams held a 185-45 advantage in total yards at halftime as Harrison was missing starting quarterback Max Martin (knee).
Keel Watson — a transfer from Detroit Delta Academy — made his debut at quarterback for Harrison. He displayed a strong arm, but lacked accuracy and connected on just 2-of-11 passes in the opening half.
It didn’t help that Adams bottled up Northwestern-bound Rod Heard, limiting him to seven yards on nine carries, including a 21-yard loss when the snap went over his head while he was in wildcat formation.
Watson started showing some confidence on Harrison’s first drive of the second half, finding Vincent Rawls on a third-down screen pass for 28 yards to the Adams 16. Rawls capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 17-7 midway through the third.
Watson connected on 2-of-3 passes for 28 yards on the next drive when Harrison scored on a 16-play, 81-yard drive. Heard (82 yards, 26 carries) did the heavy lifting, rushing for 41 yards on 11 carries and scoring on a 4-yard run to pull within 17-14 with 9:17 left.
Then after forcing Adams to a three-and-out, Harrison pulled even on David Hiser’s 41-yard field goal with 3:27 remaining.
“It was everything for us," Patritto said of the win. "It’s almost sad to be honest with you, the games we’ve had with this program (Harrison) over the last 15 years are things I’ll never, ever forget.
"I absolutely love Coach (John) Herrington and all he’s done for high school football and especially how he’s embraced me since I’ve been in the league. We wanted to give him a good game, win, lose or draw and I think we did.”