By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Trenton — Damon Harrison helped moved the Trenton Steel closer to their goal. He had a career night in helping the Steel improve their playoff chances.
Right now, the Steel are in the 4th playoff spot out of the East teams.
The Steel were able to roll past the Erie Explosion, 78-53, last night at the Sun National Bank Center. It was the Steel’s last regular season home game in front of 2,857 people.
The Steel are 2-2 with the Explosion this season. But with the 25-point win, the Steel own the tie-breaker with the Explosion if both end with an 8-4 at the end of the season.
“It was big for us, especially since they are in our Division,” said Steel head coach Rod Miller. “Right now, we’re tied 2-2 with them, but we hold the tie breaker, because we won by more points. That was something we were trying to focus on as well. It was big for us. We wanted to prove that we’re a lot better than the last time we played them.”
The Steel are currently 7-4 with a bye week next week. Following the bye, the Steel are on the road, as they travel to Harrisburg to face the Stampede in the regular season finale.
“We’ve been taking every game as a championship game,” said Coach Miller. “That’s been our philosophy from the middle of the season. So, when we were in that losing streak, we had to change our philosophy. We took last game as a championship game. We took (last night’s) game as a championship game. As I’ve told the players, we have one more regular season championship game left, then if we want to win the finals, we have to win three more. We are trying to go into the playoffs with momentum and go from there.”
On the other hand, the Explosion are at home on June 4th. The Explosion face the Stampede in their regular season finale.
Harrison will remember his game against the Explosion last night. Harrison had the best game of his career – ever.
Harrison had 5 touchdown receptions; all from passes by Steel quarterback E.J. Nemeth.
“I felt a little salty about the last game,” said Harrison. “That game was up in Erie. It has been on my mind since Saturday when I was able to think about this game. I just wanted to have a good game.”
He also returned a kickoff return for a touchdown with a 11.7 seconds left in the second quarter. Harrison took over the kick return duties after Keon Lattimore decided to leave the team on May 12th.
“I’m just happy that they’re giving me an opportunity to be here,” said Harrison. “I specialized in kick offs in high school. I know 50-yards; I can run that all day. I was the blocker for Lattimore, so I’m happy to get the opportunity to be back there.”
Nemeth only threw one more touchdown pass outside of Harrison. Nemeth hit Oderick Turner for a 4-yard pass in the fourth.
Nemeth also had three rushing touchdowns in the game. Two of those rushing touchdowns came in the second half.
While the Steel offensive was shining, the special teams and defense also did its part. Steel kicker Craig Camay started it with a 1-point safety near the end of the first. Near the end of the second, Steel defensive back Desmond Maul blocked a 17-yard extra point attempt for a 2-point conversion.
“They attempted a drop kick in an effort to try to make up the points,” said Coach Miller. “The drop kick would have been two points for them, but fortunately for us, (Carlos Ojeda) drop-kicked it and his up man got in his way. We recovered the fumble and were able to take it down to score. That was big for us. That was a big momentum changer. We needed that.”
Right near the end of the game, Camay added a 19-yard field goal. Then, Steel defensive end Melik Brown tackled Explosion quarterback Adam DiMichele in the end zone for a safety.
DiMichele had 5 touchdown passes. He connected with Kevin Concepcion on two passes, then hit Tirone Morris for three additional passes.
DiMichele also had a 5-yard rushing touchdown. Lenny Wicks also had a rushing touchdown, except his touchdown came on a 29-yard kickoff return.