“I’m telling you right now he’s the player of the game.”
That’s what Heathwood Hall head coach Danny Lewis said of his kicker, Will Frick, after his Highlanders gutted out a 25-14 win over the visiting Cardinal Newman Cardinals Friday, September 10.
Frick kicked three field goals and two extra points to lead Heathwood.
“ William Frick has been a Godsend,” Lewis said. “He decided during the offseason that he wanted to try to do this, and he’s really helped our kicking game.”
Frick was not the only difference maker for the Highlanders. Walker Draffin had an interception and six tackles on defense to go with a 43-yard pass and 83 yards rushing and a game-clinching touchdown on 14 carries on offense.
“Walker is the heartbeat of our football team,” Lewis said. “He’s the sparkplug. We need more Walker Draffins in our program.”
Other Heathwood standouts included William Morris who had six receptions for 106 yards and Dylan Lesesne who carried the ball 14 times for 55 yards. Rondarius Porter finished with eight tackles (two for loss) on defense and a 2-yard rushing touchdown on offense.
For the second week in a row, Heathwood had to respond after giving up an opening touchdown. Cardinal Newman’s A.J. Reyes took a handoff from midfield on the third play of the game and raced 50 yards to the end zone. Eli Venugopal added the extra point, and the Cardinals led 7-0 less than a minute into the contest.
The Highlanders responded with a 60-yard, 12-play drive. Donald Tomlin completed 4-of-5 passes for 43 yards, and Dylan Lesesne ran three times for 11 tough yards. Tomlin scrambled eight yards to the two, and then Rondarius Porter completed the drive with the short touchdown run. Frick added the extra point, and the score stood at 7-7 with 5:40 left in the first quarter.
Tomlin completed 14-of-19 passes for 120 yards on the night.
Three plays later, Draffin snagged the interception and returned it 23 yards to the Cardinal Newman 12-yard line. The Cardinal defense responded with Logan Busenlehner’s sack that pushed the Highlanders back to the 17-yard line forcing them to settle for the first of Frick’s field goals.
Heathwood then got a break when a Cardinal snap at the 16-yard line sailed over Reyes and out of the end zone for a safety giving the Highlanders a 12-7 lead with 1:41 left in the first quarter.
Heathwood drove into Cardinal Newman territory on its next two possessions but came away empty. The Cardinals responded with two three-and-outs.
The Highlanders then turned to some trickery with a halfback option as Draffin took the handoff and tossed a 43-yard bomb to William Morris to set Heathwood up at the Cardinal 7-yard line. However, the Cardinal Newman defense rose to the occasion once more, and the Highlanders turned to Frick for a 22-yard field goal and a 15-7 lead with 32.4 seconds left in the first half.
Heathwood drove 53 yards to the Cardinal 19-yard line to start the second half, but two passes and a run yielded just two more yards. Frick answered the call again drilling a 31-yard field goal for an 18-7 lead with 6:33 left in the third quarter.
The Cardinals fought back with a 10-play, 74-yard drive. Reyes did most of the damage running six times for 39 yards. Jalil Garvin-Mingo added 14 yards on a couple of carries. Reyes scored from three yards out on his final run, Venugopal tacked on the extra point, and Cardinal Newman trailed 18-14 with 1:47 left in the third quarter. Reyes finished with 111 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.
Lesesne returned the ensuing kickoff to midfield, and then Lewis turned to Draffin. The senior ran six times for 37 yards and scored from three yards out on the seventh run. Frick added the extra point, and the Highlanders led 25-14 with 9:05 left in the game.
The teams exchanged fumbles before the Heathwood D stopped Cardinal Newman on a fourth-and-one from the Highlander 29-yard line. Draffin then rushed five straight times for 39 yards allowing the Highlanders to run out the clock and a take a knee to end it.
“I take my hat off to (Cardinal Newman head) Coach (Doug) Dutton and his staff,” Lewis said. “Those guys play extremely hard. That was a heck of a football game, and the score looks a lot a worse than it really is. I mean that was a one-score game.”
Heathwood improves to 3-1 overall and 2-0 in SCISA Region 1-3A. Cardinal Newman falls to 0-3 overall and 0-2 SCISA 3A.