Last Friday night’s homecoming comeback from a 29-6 halftime deficit will definitely go down as one of Heritage High School’s great comebacks in its short varsity history.
Staring at a three-game losing streak as they departed the field at the end of the first half, the Jaguars mounted a spirited second-half rally behind quarterback Cade Sumbler, who threw four touchdown passes — including the game-winner to Haydon Wiginton with 2:37 left — as Heritage stunned Stephenville, 33-29, at the MISD Multipurpose Stadium.
Mike Johnson’s interception with 51 seconds left sealed the most unlikely of wins for a Heritage team that seemed destined for a third consecutive loss after giving up a touchdown with nine seconds left in the first half.
Three of Sumbler’s scoring tosses went to Jay Wilkerson for 67, 47 and 65 yards — on drives of one, one and two plays respectively — as the Jags (2-2) bounced back strongly and quickly. Wilkerson finished with five catches for 187 yards, and Sumbler was 12-of-19 for 252 yards and also added the game’s initial TD early on.
Stephenville opened with the ball to start the third quarter, but after the Heritage defense forced a punt, Sumbler immediately found Wilkerson open for a 67-yard touchdown. Then after the Yellowjackets were stopped cold on three consecutive plays near midfield, Sumbler found Wilkerson again, and the Jags were in business trailing 29-19.
Heritage’s next drive ended with a punt, but the Jags got the ball back and on the first play of the fourth quarter, the Sumbler-to-Wilkerson connection clicked once again, and it was a 3-point game.
A 42-yard field goal to tie the game was no good, but there was plenty of time for the Jags to pull out the game. A shanked punt gave Heritage the ball at the 36, and two plays later Sumbler hit Wiginton to complete the improbable comeback.
Stephenville moved downfield in the waning moments and got as close as the Heritage 30 before Johnson’s pick sealed the outcome.
Latray Miller carried 19 times for 167 yards for the Jags and set up the first scoring of the night as he carried six times, including a 45-yard run that set up Sumbler’s 12–yard keeper for a 6-0 lead.
But the rest of the first half belonged to Stephenville, which got on the board via a Trace Morrison 22-yard field goal. Yellowjackets quarterback Kade Renfro then threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Cole Stanley early in the second quarter to take the lead at 9-6.
A Heritage three-and-out was followed by a Renfro sneak for another Stephenville score; then the Jackets stuffed the Jags on a fourth-and-1 at the Heritage 40-yard line, setting up the first of two connections between Renfro and Morrison.
The Jags were forced to punt once more, and Renfro closed out the half with a 41-yard pass to Morrison with nine ticks left, sending Stephenville into the dressing room up by 23 points — only to see the Jags surge for the win in the second half.
Heritage’s tough non-district slate concludes Friday night with a trip down Interstate 35 to Waco La Vega. The defending Class 4A Division I state champion Pirates are 3-1 and coming off a 61-0 rout of Pflugerville High.