WAXAHACHIE — If there was any disappointment over learning that Heritage High School would not be able to win the District 9-4A (I) championship, the Jaguars appeared able to shake it off as Friday night’s game at Life Waxahachie progressed.
Perhaps there was a little bit of a carryover from Thursday’s announcement that the Jags were forfeiting their win against Crandall two weeks ago for using an ineligible player, as they spotted Life an early 7-0 lead. However, the Jags came back strong and ended the game with 24 unanswered points, defeating the Mustangs, 24-7.
HHS (5-4, 3-1), which was already in the playoffs, locked up the No. 2 seed out of 9-4A (I) and will face either Palestine, Van or Henderson in the bi-district round of the playoffs next week.
The Mustangs threatened to tie the game early in the fourth quarter, pushing as close as the HHS 6-yard line before the Heritage defense sniffed out a fourth-down pass to standout back Sir Michael Veasley, throwing him for a loss of two. The Jags then drove 86 yards for a Hayden Riggins field goal that opened up a cushion; then Cade Sumbler sealed it with a 41-yard pass to Jay Wilkerson.
Life (6-3, 2-2) also clinched a berth despite losing, and would be the district’s No. 3 representative with either a win this Friday at Quinlan Ford or an Athens loss to first-place Crandall.
Sumbler finished with three touchdown passes and was an efficient 14-of-18 for 208 yards, with one interception. Wilkerson caught seven of Sumbler’s passes for 116 yards and two TDs, and Haydon Wiginton caught two for 46 yards an a score.
Cullen Stone was the Jags’ leading rusher with 97 yards on only five carries, and Latray Miller ran 13 times for 68 yards.
The Mustangs opened with the ball and promptly drove 64 yards on 11 plays, with Veasley punching it in from a yard out. But the Jags came right back to knot the score with Sumbler’s 21-yard TD pass to Wilkerson.
After an exchange of several possessions, Stone’s 41-yard run set up Sumbler’s 18-yard toss to Wiginton, giving HHS a lead it never relinquished. The Jags threatened late in the half, but Wilkerson was brought down at the Life 6-yard line at the end of a 35-yard pass from Sumbler as time expired.
Veasley finished with 17 carries for 86 yards and a touchdown for the Mustangs. Life quarterbacks Cody Oder and Gage Mayfield combined to go 13-of-20 for 127 yards through the air.
The Jags will tune up for the postseason with Senior Night at MISD Multipurpose Stadium, with Mabank (6-3, 1-3) as the opponent. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday night.
HHS forfeits Crandall win
Heritage High School has forfeited its 23-7 victory against Crandall on Oct. 25 for using an ineligible player.
Heritage self-reported the violation to the University Interscholastic League last Thursday after learning that the player was not eligible to play in the first half of the Crandall game after being ejected from the previous game.
Heritage had been the only undefeated team in District 9-4A (I) and had clinched a playoff berth before the forfeit.
Crandall takes over as the district No. 1 seed as a result, while Heritage will be the No. 2 seed.
— Mirror report