Highland Home stuns Luverne

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 14, 2005

Jessie Webb had problems with muscle cramps all night long.

After scoring Highland Home's first touchdown, the senior running back was in and out of Friday night's rivalry game against Luverne, cramping in both legs frequently sending him to the sidelines.

Webb chalked it up to the atmosphere and the excitement. 2-0 Highland Home. 2-0 Luverne. A battle for first place in Class 2A, Region 3.

"I overplayed myself," said Webb. "We were just so worked up."

Luckily for the Flying Squadron, Webb was on the field when it mattered.

With just over a minute to play in the game, Webb picked up a Luverne fumble at the 47-yard line and raced down the sideline for the game winning touchdown. Deymond Sankey's interception of a Ryan Brown's last second 29-yard pass ensured Highland Home a 27-20 victory over its rivals.

"It means we're 2-0 in the region, but we've got a lot of tough ones to go," said Highland Home head coach Bob Farrior following the game.

Farrior was at times beside himself on the sidelines as he watched his offense squander scoring opportunity after scoring opportunity throughout the game. Webb capped off the Flying Squadron's first drive of the game with a 4-yard run and Luverne answered with a 3-yard touchdown run by Fred Hawkins.

But in the first half, Highland Home coughed up the football twice inside Luverne's 20-yard line.

Tied at 7-7, the two teams traded scores again in the second half. A 61-yard pass from Sankey to Arico Harris gave the Flying Squadron the ball at the Tigers' 10-yard line. Sankey scored from two yard's out a few plays later.

Luverne responded with an eight-play drive and 2-yard touchdown by Brown.

A long Flying Squadron drive ended in no points in the fourth when Harris broke through the middle of Luverne's defense but fumbled the ball into the endzone. Luverne recovered and took possession on its own 20-yard line.

"It looks like we would have learned from our mistakes," said Farrior. "We never did."

Hawkins then went 73 yards on third and short, giving Luverne a 20-14 lead with 8:05 remaining.

What happened next, admitted Farrior, may have been "poetic justice."

"They went three and a half quarters without fumbling, without throwing an interception," he said. "So maybe it was their time."

It came in a flurry.

On third and 13 inside Luverne's 20, Sankey lofted a pass into the endzone, which Hawkins intercepted. Trying to return the ball, the junior fumbled at the 5-yard line, giving possession back to Highland Home.

Sankey scored from the 3-yard line.

A bobbled snap on the point-after-attempt sent back-up quarterback Josh Wasden running for his life and looking for a receiver. Wasden thought he'd found teammate Will Pouncey tight roping the back of the endzone for a 2-point catch, but the officials ruled him out of bounds.

It didn't matter.

Webb iced the game with his touchdown return on Luverne's ensuing possession.

"Give all the credit to Highland Home," said LHS head coach Brad Waggoner. "They deserved to win the ball game."

Sankey rushed 10 times for 81 yards and was 7-of-10 for 176 yards passing. Harris rushed for 59 yards on 11 carries.