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Heritage Hall Rallies to 2A Title

Murray Evans Published: December 13, 1998
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STILLWATER - Heritage Hall is the Class 2A high school football champion, because the Chargers never seem to run out of time.

On Saturday afternoon, for the third time in the playoffs, the Chargers won on a dramatic late score. Wes Welker's 2-yard dive and subsequent extra-point kick with 55 seconds left gave No. 2 Heritage Hall a 35-34 win over No. 1 Tishomingo in the 2A title game at Lewis Field.

Heritage Hall finished 15-0 and claimed the northwest Oklahoma City school's first state gridiron title. Tishomingo, which was also seeking its first state football title, closed at 14-1 after surrendering more points in a game than it had all season.

Heritage Hall scored 10 points in the final 13 seconds to down Davis 41-38 in a second-round game, and scored a touchdown with 1:41 remaining to edge Plainview 10-6 in the quarterfinals.

"We've had a lot of kids play with a lot of heart," Heritage Hall coach Rod Warner said. "I think the Davis game and the Plainview games were pluses for us. We've been there before. We know what to do. How can you have a better state championship than that game? What a game!"

Tishomingo lost standout running back Jeff Harbert to an ankle injury midway through the third quarter. Quarterback Landon Wood took control after Harbert's exit, and guided the Indians on a 14-play, 73-yard touchdown drive that consumed more than eight minutes of the fourth quarter.

Wood's 1-yard, fourth-down run with 3:17 left gave the Indians a 34-28 lead. A botched snap foiled the extra-point attempt, which proved costly for the Indians.

Heritage Hall quarterback Graham Colton completed his last 12 pass attempts, including a 6-for-6 effort on the Chargers' final drive. On fourth-and-4 from his own 40, he hit Welker for a 13-yard gain. After an illegal motion penalty, Colton connected with Derek Peek for 34 yards, and hit Welker again for 16 yards. That put the Chargers on the 2, and Welker dove in for the score.

"They (the Indians) had never fought back from behind, and we'd been doing it all year," Welker said. "I think it gave us a little bit of an edge. We thought we had to drive down and score quickly, and that's what we did. Graham did a fantastic job stepping up."

Tishomingo, out of time-outs, started its last possession at its own 35, after the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds. Heritage Hall's Harper Ward sacked Wood on first down. Wood spiked the ball on second down to stop the clock, and scrambled for 12 yards on third down. As Tishomingo lined up for the fourth-down snap, one of its linemen moved, resulting in a penalty with :01 left. The Indians couldn't snap the ball in time after the referee signaled for the clock to start again.

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