Warhill High survived a late fumble that gave Heritage a final crack at the end zone, and the Lions held on for a 28-21 win in a season opener at Wanner Stadium.
A 19-yard rushing touchdown, plus a 2-point conversion, by senior quarterback Jamin Hazelaar gave Warhill a 28-14 lead with 5:07 to play. But Heritage quarterback Darius Price guided the Hurricanes 62 yards and hit Roderick Webb for a 7-yard pass to bring the visitors within a score.
Heritage was out of timeouts, and Hazelaar fumbled at the Hurricanes’ 36-yard line while trying to run the clock out before Malik Streater picked up the drop and took it all the way back to Warhilll’s 39 with 39 seconds left.
Bryant Walker came away with a big sack for the Lions, and the game ultimately ended on Price’s 28-yard pass to Jordan Brodus-Boone, down to Warhill’s 18.
“A win is a win, for sure,” Walker said. “We knew we had to go 12 rounds with these guys like a boxing match, but the boys held in tough. It was awesome.”
With the game tied at 7 in the first half, Heritage drove 73 yards before the Lions’ defense stuffed Price’s quarterback sneak to come up with a goal-line stand.
“That really turned the game around for us defensive-wise,” said Warhill linebacker Noah Holmes, who finished with a sack and several quarterback hurries.
MOST SPECTACULAR PLAY
Hazelaar, in his first varsity game as a starting quarterback, broke free of three would-be Heritage tacklers and dragged two for several yards into the end zone on his 19-yard score up the middle that pushed Warhill ahead by two touchdowns late in the fourth quarter.
Then Hazelaar, who finished with three total TDs (two rushing, one passing) converted another run for two points.
“I saw a hole on the right side,” Hazelaar said of the TD. “I hit that hole and broke through the line, and I just told myself I’m not going down. I lowered my shoulder and just followed through it.”
BY THE NUMBERS
Price had a monster game for Heritage, completing 11 of 16 for 248 yards and three touchdowns to a trio of receivers.
HE SAID IT
“It’s not about who we play,” Warhill coach Thad Wheeler said. “It’s about ourselves. With all the fumbles and mistakes we made, it could have been different. But in the first game, it’s always good to come out with a victory.”
Heritage 0-1; Warhill 1-0.
Heritage: vs. Phoebus (Sept. 2 at Todd Stadium, 2 p.m.); Warhill: vs. Grafton (Sept. 8 at Wanner Stadium, 7 p.m.).