By Scott Halasz
BEAVERCREEK — Meechi Harris would have rather traded a pair of post-game awards and impressive stats for a win.
But after Xenia’s 37-20 loss to Beavercreek in the season-opening football game for both teams, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound wide receiver was able to walk off Frank Zink Field in Beavercreek somewhat pleased.
In fact, playing in game that was televised live on local TV as part of Thursday Night Lights, the junior introduced himself to the area as a receiver to watch.
The third option last year behind the graduated Rocky James, and Ray James who transferred to Wayne, Harris caught just 25 passes for 333 yards and five TDs. Most of those came in games against Butler (7 for 79, 2 TDs), Kings (7 for 56) and Lebanon (5 for 113 and 1 TD).
On Thursday, Harris accounted for all of Xenia’s touchdowns.
He caught three balls for 75 yards and two scores and was pretty much Xenia’s offense, especially in the first half when Xenia possessed the ball for less than four minutes. He also was a stud on special teams, returning a kickoff 83 yards for a TD to keep Xenia close, 30-20, with 6:54 left in the third quarter.
“I felt like this year is my year,” Harris said after receiving plaques for being the special teams player of the week and the offensive player of the week for the Bucs. “I feel like the defense pushed me in practice … I feel like people should stop sleeping on me.”
He amassed all of his stats in the first half as the Beavers double teamed Harris in the second half. His electric touchdown catches went for 35 and 20 yards. The latter gave Xenia a short-lived 14-9 lead.
“He’s a great athlete” Coach Bob DeLong said. “We were thinking this was going to happen at the end of last year. He’s worked really, really hard. It’s obviously shown. He’s blossoming.”
Despite feeling like the top passing option, Harris also felt like he wasn’t good enough.
“I feel like I could have done a lot better,” he said.