DECATUR — Heritage High School’s football team was forced to make not one, but two stops on its own goal line in the final seven seconds of Friday night’s game.
The Jaguars stopped a pass attempt, then stonewalled a final rush at the 1-yard line as the Class 4A Division I No. 9-ranked Jags escaped with a 28-25 victory over Decatur at Eagle Stadium.
The Jaguars (3-0) once again jumped out to a big early lead, then had to rally late after the Eagles scored 25 straight points to take a 25-21 lead with 3:34 left. Senior running back Cullen Stone, who finished with 165 yards on 17 carries, scored on a 5-yard run with 57 seconds left to give HHS the lead back.
The Eagles answered by driving 74 yards on seven plays down to the 1-yard line with seven seconds left. After a pass incompletion stopped the clock with four ticks showing, Decatur went for the win, and the Jags stuffed Decatur running back Landry Phillips for no gain as time expired, and Heritage survived.
Latray Miller added 61 rushing yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Quarterback Daelin Rader completed 15 of 28 pass attempts for 146 yards, and Haydon Wiginton caught nine passes for 93 yards. Rader also ran for a score.
Defensively, Kaden Brown led the Jags with 10 total tackles and added an interception, followed by Greg Johnson with seven tackles, a blocked field goal attempt and three pass deflections.
Freshman Antonio Pride Jr. recorded his first varsity interception and returned it for a touchdown with 11:30 remaining in the first half, and the rout appeared to be on. But the Eagles got on the board minutes later on a 40-yard pass play, and the score remained 21-7 at the break.
Stone’s 58-yard run to the Decatur 5-yard line set up Miller’s 1-yard run giving Heritage the lead on the game’s opening possession. On the next series, the Jags went 75 yards, and Rader made it 14-0 on a 4-yard keeper.
Decatur’s Landon Howell threw two touchdown passes of 4 and 20 yards to Karter Houchin in the third quarter to narrow the margin to 21-19. Then with 3:34 left in the fourth, Howell threw to Preston Escobar for a 16-yard TD that put the Eagles in the lead for the first time.
The Jags return home this Friday night against Paris with kickoff at MISD Multipurpose Stadium set for 7:30 p.m.