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Thriller in Leesburg: Heritage scores on final play to earn “signature win”

Heritage senior Luke Schaub rushed for 152 yards and three touchdowns in a thrilling 41-38 win against John Champe.—File Photo/Rick Wasser
Tick, tick, tick ... the game clock was dwindling. Trailing 38-35 and without a timeout left, Heritage rushed to get a final play off near the John Champe goal line before the clock struck zero. Heritage senior quarterback Alex Carlin got the snap off in time, ran to his right and dove into the end zone.

Following Carlin's touchdown run as time expired, students stormed the field to rejoice as host Heritage earned perhaps its biggest win of the season, 41-38, versus a talented John Champe team on senior night Thursday in Leesburg.

"Initially, we called a sneak on the goal line and then I saw a bunch of players right up in the middle," Carlin explained. "I thought to myself 'no one is on the outside.' As the field started to reopen, I saw a hole and drove right in. I couldn’t be more proud of our team right now and I’m so pumped."

Carlin continued, "This is a signature win for our program, and to get it on senior night is really a lot of fun for us."

The offensive shootout featured a combined seven touchdowns from the lead running backs - John Champe junior Carl Garmon III rushed for 220 yards and four scores, while Heritage senior Luke Schaub churned out 152 yards rushing and three touchdowns.

John Champe (5-3) took the lead on its first possession of the night with a 1-yard run by Garmon. The Knights went for a two-point conversion after each of their touchdowns, failing to convert following the opening score.

Heritage (6-2) answered on the next drive with a 39-yard touchdown run by Schaub to go up 7-6. The Pride got the ball back after their defense forced a fumble and two plays later, Schaub found the end zone again with a 37-yard run.

The Knights had an answer on a five-play, 41-yard drive that ended when quarterback Cameron Parson found Jo Garmon in the end zone for a 12-yard strike. This time, the Knights converted the two-point conversion with a run by Carl Garmon that tied the game at 14-14 with 2:12 left in the opening quarter.

The Pride jumped back on top early in the second quarter. Carlin connected with Aaron Maisus on a 20-yard touchdown pass to give Heritage a 21-14 lead.

After both defenses got stops, John Champe got a huge punt return going all the way to the Heritage 22. It set the table for Carl Garmon to punch it in from four yards out on a direct snap. The Knights converted another two-point conversion to go ahead 22-21.

The Pride proceeded to go on a 10-play, 49-yard drive that ended with Carlin's 10-yard touchdown pass to DJ Hutcherson. The Knights responded again as Carl Garmon added another touchdown run and two-point coversion to put his team ahead 30-28 at halftime.

Scoring slowed down a bit in the second half as each team produced one touchdown prior to Carlin's last-second score. Schaub scored with 3:47 left in the third quarter before Carl Garmon answered a little more than a minute later. The Knights held a 38-35 lead entering the fourth.

With less than five minutes left in regulation, the Pride produced a key fourth-down stop to take over on downs. Heritage methodically moved the ball into scoring position - highlighted by a clutch fourth-down run by Schaub with 1:06 remaining.

"When we got the ball back, I didn’t want them to get it again," Heritage coach Reed Prosser said. "So as a staff we said 'we’re gonna win it or lose it on this drive' ... which was why we let the clock tick down."

With the clock ticking to less than 15 seconds, Heritage would have two chances to score. After failing to score on a run up the middle, Carlin would not be denied on his final chance. A fitting ending for Heritage on senior night.

"It was situational football. It was a gutsy call. First play up the middle didn’t work. Alex then made the gutsiest call I’ve ever seen and it paid off and we got the W," Schaub said. "We knew we were gonna get in. This was our night. Everything about it was our night. We practiced all week and we knew we were gonna come out and win."

Heritage 41, John Champe 38

JC - Carl Garmon 1 run (conversion failed) 7:58 1st

H - Luke Schaub 39 run (Bryan Henriquez kick) 6:20 1st

H - Schaub 37 run (Henriquez kick) 4:20 1st

JC - Jo Garmon 12 pass from Cameron Parson (Carl Garmon run) 2:12 1st

H - Aaron Maisus 20 pass from Alex Carlin (Henriquez kick) 10:04 2nd

JC - Carl Garmon 4 run (Malik Habib run) 9:19 2nd

H - DJ Hutcherson 10 pass from Carlin (Henriquez kick) 5:03 2nd

JC - Carl Garmon 1 run (Garmon run) 3:53 2nd

H - Schaub 3 run (Henriquez kick) 3:47 3rd

JC - Garmon 28 run (Garmon run) 1:23 3rd

H - Carlin 1 run, 0:00 4th

Offensive leaders

Rushing - JC: Carl Garmon III (28-220-4); H: Luke Schaub (26-152-3), Alex Carlin (19-119-1)

Passing - JC: Cameron Parson (4 of 9 for 35 yards, TD); H: Carlin (12 of 16 for 106 yards, 2 TD)

Receiving - JC: Alex Thoden (1-20), Jo Garmon-(1-12-1); H: DJ Hutcherson (3-35-1), Gio Wooten (5-33), Aaron Maisus (2-31-1)

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