Millbrook’s Raul Oquendo’s diving interception in the end zone in the final minute preserved a 21-16 win against host Heritage on Friday night in Cap-8 conference play.
After Millbrook held two consecutive Heritage runs to a loss of a yard, Heritage faced third-and-goal from the Millbrook 9 yard line with 46 seconds left.
Heritage’s Blake Walters dropped back to pass. Receiver Charles Johnson cut to the far side of the field toward the goal line. Johnson was initially open and Walters’ pass looked like it would give the Huskies the lead until Oquendo raced across the end zone, making the diving grab in front of Johnson.
“We were able to make the last play of the night,” Millbrook coach Clarence Inscore said. “Our defense has been carrying us this year, and the offense has been picking it up and playing better.”
Heritage’s last drive came after Millbrook kicker Jarrett Cervi’s 35-yard field goal attempt fell short. Heritage (5-4, 2-3) took over at its 20 yard line with 3:36 remaining. Walters immediately hit Gershom Ejoni for a 32-yard completion. After three positive rushing plays, Walters hit Jalen Parson at the Millbrook 8 yard line to set up the scoring chance.
“Give credit to Millbrook for making the final play,” Heritage coach Jason McGeorge said. “I’m very proud of the team getting it all the way back down there and giving ourselves a chance to win.”
The teams looked evenly matched at the start and as the game progressed they battled to a 7-7 halftime score.
“We knew Heritage is very dangerous. They came out and played us toe-to-toe,” Inscore said.
Heritage’s pooch kick to start the second half caught Millbrook off guard. Joshua Murphy recovered the kick and three plays later Abdul Sesay punched it in from 7 yards out for the touchdown. HowThe snap on the extra point attempt was muffed and the desperation pass for the conversion fell short, leaving Heritage ahead 13-7.
Millbrook (7-2, 4-1) answered on its next possession. Quarterback Reid Herring hit Brian Miller in the end zone for the score. Cervis’ extra point put the Wildcats up 14-13 with 7:55 left in the third quarter.
After the Millbrook defense forced a three-and-out, Herring struck again. A five-yard touchdown pass to Barndon Goldsmith capped a 7-play drive. Millbrook led 21-13 with 3:59 left in the third quarter.
Heritage fumbled on its next possession, but Millbrook was unable to capitalize. Heritage forced a punt, and Walters helped move the Huskies 55 yards before the drive stalled at the Millbrook 15-yard line. Matt Sattler’s 32-yard field goal closed the gap to 21-16 with 10:47 left in the game.
Heritage forced another stop, but on the ensuing possession Sesay was stripped of the ball by Millbrook’s Sam Blue.
Heritage got the ball back after Millbrook’s missed field goal attempt, but the drive was halted by Oquendo’s heroics.
“Credit to (Heritage) they were in position to win the football game, and credit to our guys who had their backs against the wall … and we were able to make that last play,” Inscore said.