Home | Sports | Football | Stone-walled: Goal-line stand, senior running back lead No. 9 Midlothian Heritage to win
Cullen Stone, pictured in this KBEC Sports file photo, led No. 9 Midlothian Heritage with 164 rushing yards Friday night against Decatur. (KIRK HOLT/KBEC SPORTS, FILE)

Stone-walled: Goal-line stand, senior running back lead No. 9 Midlothian Heritage to win

By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports

Cullen Stone proved to be the hero Midlothian Heritage needed Friday night on the gridiron against Decatur. Oh, and there was also a goal-line stand as the clock expired to boot.

The senior running back carried the football 18 times for a game-high 164 yards during the 28-25 road victory. His final four rushing attempts proved to be the difference in the game’s final two minutes.

No. 9 Midlothian Heritage (3-0) opened the game with a pair of first-quarter touchdowns — on rushes of 1- and 4-yards by LaTray Miller and quarterback Daelin Rader, respectively.

Miller ultimately rushed 12 times for 62 yards on the evening, while Rader ended his night 13-of-25 through the air for 178 yards. He added eight carries for 29 yards on the ground.

The Jaguars ultimately extended their lead to 21-0 when Antonio Pride Jr. picked off an Eagle pass and returned it 28 yards to the house. The score came with 11:30 to play in the first half. It was quickly followed by Decatur’s Preston Escobar completing a 40-yard pass David Juarez on the ensuing Eagle drive.

The 21-7 Heritage lead held as the teams headed into the halftime locker room and through much of the third quarter.

Decatur quarterback Landon Howell (14-34, 241yds, 3TDs, INT) eventually completed touchdown passes to Karter Houchin (4 yards) and Preston Escobar (17 yards) with under six minutes to play.

The pair of scores pulled the Eagles within a single score, 21-19, with 50 seconds to play in the third quarter.

That score held as Heritage moved inside the Eagles’ 10-yard line with the clock running toward 8 minutes to play in the fourth quarter.

Two snaps and one Decatur house blitz resulting in Rader being sack later, and the Jaguars faced a third-and-goal from the Eagles’ 16-yard line. Decatur brought pressure again on the ensuing snap and forced the Jaguars to attempt a 42-yard field goal.

The kick missed and set the Decatur offense up at its own 25-yard line. The Eagles promptly used three plays and one Heritage personal foul to move across midfield.

Howell then completed a 7-yard pass to David Juarez (7-120) while Jackson Carroll (8-39) bruised his way for four yards to put the Eagles in field goal range. The no-huddle pace ultimately led to a Decatur timeout with 6:08 to play in the fourth quarter and the Eagles at the Jaguars’ 32-yard line.

Six plays later, the Decatur offense then faced a decision to attempt a field goal or try to convert a fourth-and-6. Head coach Mike Fuller elected to keep the offense on the field — and it paid off.

Howell evaded two would-be tacklers in the backfield and found Preston Escobar in the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown. Heritage blocked the point-after attempt, leaving the Jaguars trailing for the first time in the game, 25-21, with 3:34 to play.

The ensuing Jaguar drive began with promise, highlighted by a 21-yard Cullen Stone run to the Decatur 41-yard line.

Unfortunately, disaster struck on the next snap when Rader fumbled the football after a 5-yard gain. The turnover came with three minutes and change to play.

But the Heritage defense stepped up and quickly forced a Decatur punt. The three-and-out resulted in the Jaguars starting their final drive 81 yards from paydirt with 2:18 to play and two timeouts to burn.

Rader quickly completed a short pass to Wiginton and Stone rushed for 11 yards to move the Jaguars to their 49-yard line with 1:43 remaining.

Two snaps later, Stone broke free for a 33-yard scamper to the Eagles’ 5-yard line. He then carried in the eventual game-winning touchdown on the ensuing snap to put the Jaguars on top, 28-25, with 55 seconds showing on the fourth-quarter clock.

There was very little time to celebrate — at least not yet — for the Jaguars.

Howell and the Eagle offense used pass completions of 18, 37 and 17 yards to march inside the Jaguars’ 5-yard line with 7 seconds to play. A 2-yard run by Landry Phipps then moved the football to the 1-yard line.

Following a Decatur timeout, Howell tossed an incomplete pass that took 3 seconds off the clock and put coach Fuller in quite the quandary.

Once again, he chose to forego the field goal, and again it paid off — this time for the Jaguars.

Phipps was stuffed between the Eagle guards and the Heritage defense celebrated in rare walk-off fashion on the gridiron with a 28-25 victory.

Friday’s win improved the Jaguars to 3-1 all-time against Decatur, dating back to 2017.

UP NEXT

Midlothian Heritage will return home next week to host (2-1) Paris at MISD Multipurpose Stadium. The Wildcats will enter fresh off of a 35-7 loss against Pleasant Grove.

Kick-off is slated for 7:30 p.m.

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Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith

tsmith@kbec.com

About Travis M. Smith

Travis M. Smith serves as the digital sports director for KBEC Sports. He is the former managing editor of the Waxahachie Daily Light, Midlothian Mirror and Glen Rose Reporter.

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