ALLEN — The Northern Heights football team suffered its first loss of the year, 34-24, to Lyndon High Friday evening.
Both squads put up close to the same amount of yards on the offensive side of the ball with Heights out-gaining the Tigers 257-252, but a major difference was seen in the Wildcats’ effectiveness after a third-quarter injury to senior quarterback Cameron Heiman. Heights was forced to run the ball throughout much of the remainder of the game, only netting two total rushing yards on 24 carries on the night.
“We really just got worn down,” said Northern Heights Head Coach Darwin Sweetman. “We think Heiman may have cracked a rib, and that just forced us to become one-dimensional. We got behind in the second half, and it really changed the game having our guys get hurt. It didn’t allow us to do the things we wanted to do. When they kind of know what you’re going to do on every play, it’s hard to get much done.”
Heights enjoyed a 21-20 lead heading into the half which extended to 24-20 out of the break after a 22-yard field goal by Adrian Marton. Lyndon returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for the score however, regaining a 26-24 advantage. The Tigers were able to hold on during the remaining 12 minutes, adding another touchdown on a 23-yard pass midway through the fourth quarter.
Heiman was able to reenter the game after his initial injury, but coaches were unwilling to subject the quarterback to much more contact, causing them to stray away from their typical roll-out based play calling.
Heiman finished the night 17-of-33 for 255 yards, finding receiver Tee Preisner for 95 yards and two touchdowns. Weston Orender also had a productive evening, posting four catches for 73 yards and a score.
“It was a dogfight tonight, and one of those games you really want to be involved in,” Sweetman said. “Even though we couldn’t come out with the win, it was good to see our boys competing like they did. We’ve proven to ourselves that we can compete with these powerhouses that we’re getting to run up against in Centralia and Valley Heights. We can’t let this setback be our be-all-end-all. We have to come back next week with focus.”
The Wildcats (4-1) will travel to Centralia next week for a 7 p.m. clash with the Panthers.
Lyndon 6 14 6 8 —38
NHHS 6 15 3 0 —28