Matt Harris and his Middle Township High School football teammates walked hallways with their heads held high Monday.

The Panthers were coming off one of their biggest regular season wins in a few seasons.

Middle beat Mainland Regional 27-14 last Friday.

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"It was pretty cool," said Harris, a quarterback and defensive back. "We realized we did something good, but we also kept in mind we still have more work to do. We have a lot more games to win."

The win came after Middle opened with a 34-0 loss to Holy Spirit. The Panthers (1-1) play at Buena Regional (1-1) in a West jersey Football League United Division game at 6 p.m. Friday.

Harris, a 6-foot, 165-pound senior, is in his second season as the Panthers' starting quarterback. He's completed 12 of 20 passes for 219 yards and one TD this season.

Middle, which finished 3-7 last season, seeks its first winning record since it went 6-4 in 2012.

"Our expectations are a lot higher this year than last," Harris said. "We have 10 seniors, maybe more. We have more of a winning mentality and expect more out of the season."

Harris also is a standout baseball player. The Dennis Township resident singled off Barnegat High School pitcher and Boston Red Sox first-round draft choice Jason Groome last spring. In a telephone interview Tuesday night, Harris spoke about several topics, including how he became a quarterback.

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The Middle Township High School football team has been building for this season since 2014.

On how the Panthers rebounded from the loss to Holy Spirit

We realized (Spirit) is one of the best teams we're going to play all year. We just put it behind us and realized our schedule was only going to get easier. That motivated us to get better.

On how he became a quarterback

My first (football) coach just put me there. I'm a pitcher, too, so throwing the ball is kind of like second nature. Playing quarterback is like a chess match. You have to come out and think about everything. You can't just think about one thing.

On the Buena game

This is a huge game. My mentality is that the next game is the biggest game of the season. We're both sitting at 1-1. We're in the same (division). Whoever wins has a leg up on the race.

On where his single of Groome ranks on his list of high school athletic achievements

Right now, it's at the top, but hopefully we can change that this year.

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