On November 15, the Highlander football team was ready for their most anticipated game of the year...a playoff rematch with St. Augustine, the team that knocked them out a year ago. With fans expecting a good one on hand, this game would not disappoint.
Helix got off to a great start, as an interception on St. Augustine’s first pass of the game put them in a solid position to score. However, despite a huge fourth down conversion to keep the drive alive, they would come up empty handed as the field goal attempt was blocked. The Scottie defense then forced a punt, but they quickly found themselves back on the field after Kamryn Brown was intercepted. Things were tied at zero a piece through one.
St. Augustine’s offense was still struggling to move the football as they were forced to punt on the first drive of the second. However, their defense stepped up and forced another interception, this one a touchdown-saving grab. Helix would get the ball back once again, only to hand it over to the Saints with another interception. It appeared that this one was brought back for six, but a personal foul on the return nullified the score. The Saints were unable to capitalize, and the game would remain tied at the half.
With both teams still looking for their first score of the game, Helix had a great chance to give themselves the lead. However, a fumble would halt their drive, and the Saints would regain possession. They, too, could not get things going, so they were forced to punt. A turnover bug clearly found its way onto the Helix sidelines, though, as the Highlanders fumbled away another drive. Once again, St. Augustine could not capitalize as the field goal try wound up just short. They didn’t have to wait long to get the ball back, though, as Kamryn threw his fourth pick of the game. With the game still tied at zero, something had to give. And it did. With no safety help over the top, Saints receiver Jalil Tucker beat his man for the 36 yard score. This made it a 7-0 game heading into the fourth.
After being held off the scoreboard for three quarters, the Highlanders finally had their best chance to score. On a third and goal from inside the five, they handed the ball off to Chris Washington, who appeared to go in for the touchdown. However, the officials said that he did not get the ball across the goal line, making it a fourth and short. Down by seven, Helix had no choice but to go for it. All of a sudden, the snap was thrown over the head of Delshawn Traylor, and the scoring opportunity was no more. St. Augustine took over inside the Helix twenty.
Needing a stop, the Highlander defense delivered, and the special teams unit even blocked a punt. Helix was right back in it. On a third and goal from inside the ten yard line, they brought out the trickery. A reverse play to Keionte Scott finally got them into the endzone, and the fans went crazy as an extra point would make it a tie game. But a costly excessive celebration penalty would make this a little bit of a longer kick. It was tougher, but still makeable for Elijah Laing. The kick was up, but the Highlander fans went quiet as Laing pushed it just too far to the right. There was still a lot of time left, though. Helix was still in this game.
St. Augustine could have just ran the ball on three plays to chew some clock. After all, their defense had done a really nice job of shutting down the Highlanders. However, they wanted more points. On a third and ten in their own territory, Saints quarterback Richard Colmenero dropped back to pass. He felt the pressure coming, stepped up in the pocket, and let it fly. He never saw Sammy Stewart. Sammy jumped up and picked the ball off. With not one single Saint on the left side of the field, he scored. In the last minute of his last home game in his last season, he delivered. Sammy was the hero, and he put Helix up 12-7 with just seconds to play. Helix went for two, but they came up empty. It didn’t matter. One more stop, and they would be playing for the Open Division Championship. Needing a miracle, the Saints took the field but turned it over after just four plays. And just like that, Helix won.
The Highlanders will be taking on Carlsbad next week for the Open Division Championship. The game will be played at Southwestern College. It should be a good one!