Four quarters wasn’t quite enough to decide a winner, but the Varsity Football team made a stand on the final play in overtime to knock off the Wilson Hall Barons, 13-12, in front of a capacity crowd in Sumter.
The Highlanders came out strong from the start, particularly on offense behind a balanced attack, and led on the ground by sophomore QB Alex Lewis. Lewis, seniors Davis Buchanan and Keshaun Brown, and sophomore Ronnie Porter were able to chew up yardage and time over the course of the game wearing down the Wilson Hall front. Two Grayson Tanner field goals, including a career-long 41-yarder in the second quarter put up the Highlanders’ six points before the break.
The Highlander defense dominated another first half, forcing three interceptions (Lane Clarkson, Drew Hall, Ronnie Porter) and forcing several Baron punts. Heathwood headed into the break with all of the momentum, leading 6-0.
However, a Highlander miscue on a punt return turned costly early in the second half, as a muffed catch gave the Barons a short field, and momentum. Wilson Hall scored a 3rd down TD to tie the score, but the Highlanders blocked the point after attempt, keeping the score knotted at 6 heading into the fourth quarter.
A Highlander stop with just under 2:30 remaining in the fourth, saw Heathwood take over on offense on their half of midfield. Consecutive runs from Lewis and Brown moved into field goal range, and a Highlander timeout with 7.6 seconds left sent the FG unit out with a chance to win it in regulation. After three (yes, three) consecutive timeouts from Wilson Hall, Tanner’s 37-yarder missed left by inches, sending the game into OT.
The Heathwood “O” trotted onto the field first, staring down a 1st and goal from the 10. On second down from the nine, Lewis broke three tackles and rumbled into the endzone (Tanner PAT) to put the Highlanders up seven.
The Highlander D had 10 yards to defend for the opening win of the season, but a play-action pass from the two saw the Barons score with a chance to tie the game and send it to another OT period.
On the PAT, the Barons went for a trick play and the win, pitching the ball to their placekicker who appeared headed for the endzone, before Drew Hall and Darius Bates brought him down at the 1-yard line, sending the Heathwood faithful rushing onto the field to celebrate the first HH Varsity win since the 2017 season opener!
Heathwood (1-1) will travel next Friday to Cardinal Newman (1-1) for a 7:30PM kickoff.