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Decatur Heritage squeaks by Vina

Tatum Benford/For the FCT Drake Hester (12) of Vina makes a carry around the right end against Decatur Heritage Friday night.

Slade Gilmer

For the FCT 

VINA — Vina cut an early 14-0 deficit to two points early in the second half, but a touchdown pass and tough defense from Decatur Heritage late gave the Eagles a 21-12 win over the Red Devils on Friday, Oct. 19, at Franklin-Hester Stadium.

In a game where Vina dominated possession, running 60 plays to Decatur Heritage’s 35, two big pass plays—and two missed extra-point attempts—played a pivotal role in the Eagles’ victory.

The Eagles gained possession first on the Red Devil 41. Decatur Heritage’s first three plays gained nine yards, but on fourth down, the Eagle ball carrier fumbled, and Vina’s Brody Roberts recovered on his own 30 yard line.

The Red Devils would return the favor three plays later, however, and the Eagles would drive deep into Red Devil territory.

On fourth-and-seven from the eight-yard line, Andrew Hester upended Eagle running back Lee Godwin at the five, giving Vina possession on its own 5.

Vina would move the ball to its own 20, but a muffed punt actually worked in Decatur Heritage’s favor, as Sawyer Holland picked up his fumble and rambled 18 yards to the Red Devil 32. A false start penalty moved the ball to the 37, but on the next play, Eagle quarterback Jordan Holland hit Jacob Crews for a touchdown. The extra-point attempt was wide, giving the Eagles a 6-0 lead.

After Vina went three-and-out, Godwin returned the punt to the Red Devil 40. On the next play, Godwin streaked past the Vina defense and hauled in the touchdown pass. S. Holland ran in the two-point conversion to make the score 14-0.

The Red Devils responded with a 14-play, 69-yard drive that took up most of the second quarter. Quarterback Cody Renfrow finished the drive off with a four-yard run. However, the extra-point snap was high, and Renfrow narrowly missed Justin Garrett in the end zone, making the score 14-6 at halftime.

The Red Devils took possession to start the third quarter and picked up where they left off, using a 12-play

drive covering 55 yards to score. Renfrow closed the drive on a 10-yard touchdown run. However, the two-point conversion play failed, making the score 14-12 Decatur Heritage.

Having thrown for 166 yards in the first half, the Eagles went to the ground game on the ensuing drive. The Eagles rushed for 47 yards on three carries, with the final carry being S. Holland’s 18-yard touchdown run. Jack Francis’ extra-point made the score 21-12.

Needing two scores to come back, the Red Devils’ first drive fizzled at the Eagle 49.

Vina got a big turnover four plays later, as Drake Hester picked off a J. Holland pass at his own eight-yard line.

Vina’s next drive showed great promise, moving to the Decatur Heritage 44 on a Renfrow to D. Hester pass on fourth down, but a block-in-the-back penalty moved Vina back, and Renfrow’s desperation fourth-down pass was intercepted by S. Holland.

The Eagles were able to run off most of the clock, and Vina got the ball back with too little time to make a comeback attempt.

For the game, the Red Devils had 259 yards of total offense, with 222 of those coming on the ground. D. Hester led the way with 73 yards on 16 carries, along with two receptions for 37 yards. Renfrow had 72 yards rushing on 18 carries with two touchdowns, as well as 37 yards on four-of-nine passing. Tyler Hammack added 69 yards on 14 carries for the Red Devils.

The Red Devils (0-8, 0-5 in 1A, Region 8) will travel to Waterloo next Friday night, Oct. 26, to take on the Cougars (1-7, 0-5 in 1A, Region 8) in the final region game of the season.