Friday night was filled with lightning and rain, but after some delays, the teams hit the fields and hit them hard.
At Harmony, the Longhorns were playing their first regular-season game after last week’s game against Mt. Dora was postponed because of COVID-10 protocols.
Harmony controlled the ball first but fumbled it away. They got a quick redo when the Heritage Panthers fumbled it back. Two plays later Junior running back #34 Tyler Emans, who ran for 128 yards in the game, broke through the Panther defense for a 40-yard power run for a TD, point after attempt was good and the Longhorns were bringing a smile to Coach Simon’s face, who couldn’t attend Friday night’s game. That’s how the 1st quarter ended with the Longhorns up by 7.
In the second quarter, the Panthers pretty much shut down the Longhorns’ offense but saw some success in moving the ball against Harmony. With a little over 7 minutes left in the first half Heritage’s Kyrique Harris scored on a 45-yard run and the game was tied at 7. A twenty-yard run with 2 minutes left in the first half and the Heritage Panthers were up seven at halftime.
The third quarter was mostly on the ground for both teams with both defenses having their way. Harmony’s Joshua Moss picked off Heritage but the Longhorns couldn’t capitalize, so that’s how it looked like it was going to finish out. But, after a muffed punt reception by Heritage, the Longhorns took over on the Panthers’ 25. One play later it was Tyler Emans on a handoff from Longhorn Quarterback Ayden Parks taking it all the way in for a TD, and just like that we were tied up at 14 with 5:32 left in the game.
Heritage had an opportunity to drive the ball down the field. but turned it over on downs.
It was a game filled with questionable calls as the Longhorns were hit with a couple of bad ones – including a no-call obvious pass interference against Heritage, but the Longhorns were still moving the ball and made it down to the Panthers’ 12-yard line after a big run by running back Cooper Richards. After a “puzzling” personal foul against Harmony, the ball was backed up 15 yards with 18 seconds left in the game and the Longhorns on Heritage’s 32-yard line. Emans took it from there and dragged the Panther’s defense to the 12-yard line, but the refs weren’t finished and they called holding on Harmony yet again with 5 seconds remaining in the game. That brought out Longhorn kicker Kevin Lavigne who attempted about a 46-yard field goal for the win. The kick came up a couple of yards short, but for basically the first time in the game, a penalty wasn’t in Heritage’s favor – it was holding against the Panthers with no time on the clock bringing the kicker 15 yards closer to the uprights. This time Lavigne powered a 35-yard field goal through for three and the Longhorns grabbed a dramatic win with nothing but zeros on the scoreboard. The stadium erupted as the Longhorns pulled off one of the most dramatic wins in years for the home crowd.
In other games around the county, the Kowboys fell to a strong Cocoa team 21-20 on the east coast, while the Tohopekaliga Tigers rebounded off of last week’s 71-0 big loss to Lake Minneola with a 14-10 win against Coach Marlin Roberts’ Gateway Panthers who were on the field for the first time due to COVID-19 protocols.
The St. Cloud Bulldogs went into halftime holding on to a 7-6 lead and kept it that way through a scoreless second half to take the win at home against Akelynn’s Angels of Winter Haven.
After a two-hour rain delay, the Celebration Storm dominated Poinciana 55-22.