August 29, 2009 11:59:00 PM
LOUISVILLE -- It was a double dose of déja vu for the Winston Academy Patriots and their fans Friday night.
When Heritage Academy backup fullback Stance Henderson broke three tackles and raced 54 yards for a game-winning touchdown with 3 minutes, 27 seconds to play in the game, Winston Academy fans had to think back to memories of Henderson''s father, Joey, who starred at running back for the school''s undefeated 1975 state championship team and also wore No. 5.
Winston Academy''s 13-12 loss to Heritage Academy also was eerily similar to its last-minute meltdown last week against Leake Academy, when it dominated the first half but surrendered the lead late in the second half.
"I have to give our kids a lot of credit, they never quit and our defense kept us in this game," Heritage Academy coach Brad Butler said. "We won despite losing one of our best players (John Laws Ferguson). But Stance came in and made a big play for us. He doesn''t get a lot of snaps on offense. I guess they call that karma, scoring that touchdown on this field where his father played. He knew what to do with the ball once he got it in his hands."
Henderson, a 6-foot, 195-pound junior, plays most of his snaps on defense but was called into action in the first half when Ferguson injured his knee.
The only time Henderson touched the ball he evoked memories of his father, who was a standout running back for Winston Academy, reportedly scoring five touchdowns on five carries as a freshman in his first game before signing with Vanderbilt and finishing college at Mississippi State.
When the younger Henderson touched the ball Friday, he wasn''t thinking about his father but looking for the end zone.
"When I turned up the field on the pass, I saw three guys coming toward me," Henderson said. "I thought one of them overran me. I made a cut and broke free. It started with the line. They gave us time to throw. I can''t take credit. There are 10 other guys out there on that field. They did all the work, I just got the benefit."
If anything, Henderson''s said his 54-yard jaunt would make his ride home easier.
"He''s pretty hard on me about the Winston game, but not too hard," the younger Henderson said with a grin and his father at his side. "I know it will make the ride home a lot easier after beating Winston and keep some of the talk down."
For the elder Henderson, it was a game of mixed emotions, coming back to the place where he starred and led the school to its first state championship.
"I played a lot of games on this field and being here brought back a lot of memories," Joey Henderson said. "When he caught the pass, I thought he might have a chance to score. We go at each other pretty good about this game, but I''m glad he could come away with a win."
For Winston Academy coach Wyatt Rogers, it was a second consecutive week a long third-down conversion cost his team. This week, it was a 31-yard pass play on a third-and-28 play when Heritage Academy''s Hunter Brown fought off three defenders for a crucial first down. Henderson scored on the next play.
"Last week, it was third-and-17 and we couldn''t knock down the pass," Rogers said. "It''s just hard to talk about.
"I thought our kids played hard. We just aren''t very good on offense. We had too many penalties and a lot of dropped passes. We have to get to where we can go up and make that tough catch."
Rogers'' comments showed in the stats as Winston Academy was 10-for-32 passing for 140 yards. It gained only 24 yards rushing on 27 carries, and was penalized 10 times for 112 yards.
Heritage Academy rushed for 64 yards on 34 carries and threw for 152 yards on 7-for-16 passing. It had 90 yards in penalties and lost four fumbles.
Winston Academy led 6-0 at halftime after Tyler Sullivan hit Jamie Koon on a 38-yard touchdown pass with 11 minutes, 55 seconds left in the first half.
It held that lead until 11:03 left in the fourth quarter when Rob Moffitt used some old single-wing trickery to score on an 11-yard run to go up 12-0.
Heritage Academy finally got something going on the ensuing drive after a pass interference penalty extended the drive. On third-and-1, Will Swedenburg found Chris Uhl in the flat and the senior back broke several tackles on the Winston Academy sideline for a 23-yard score with 7:55 left to cut the score to 12-7.
"We just didn''t have anything go right in the first half," Butler said. "We turned the ball over a lot and had a lot of penalties. But we felt pretty good going into the second half because as bad as things had gone, we were only down 6-0. We just needed something good to happen.
"I thought we had a chance after we scored the first touchdown. You could just sort of see it in Winston''s eyes. I''m just proud of our kids for never giving up. I thought they showed a lot of guts tonight. They never folded the tent."