FREEDOM PLAINS – For all that had gone right for the Arlington football team, it mattered little with a minute left in the first half. That moment signified that this, at best, would be a pyrrhic victory.
Austin Heck waved to the home crowd as he was lifted into an ambulance with an apparent leg injury. A positive sign, surely, but dour circumstances nevertheless. And the Admirals now must forge on without their starting quarterback.
Before the injury, the senior ran for 102 yards and a score and threw a 36-yard touchdown, leading No. 1 Arlington to a 35-6 win over 16th-seeded Mount Vernon High School in the Section 1 Class AA playoff qualifier.
Heck was tackled awkwardly on a short run to the 3 and writhed in pain as teammates immediately called for help. He was replaced by Zac Dingee.
The Admirals (7-0), in the midst of the program’s best season, advance to face an opponent to be determined in the quarterfinals next week. But they will likely do so without the player whom coach Mike Morano called “the savvy, expert manager.”
Dingee, who also lines up as a defensive back, corralled a diving interception that started Arlington at the 27-yard line. Ricardo Yolas’ 5-yard score put them up 7-0 just 1:15 into the game. Yolas ran for 115 yards and two TDs, Jacob Pfeifer caught a touchdown and Rob Pericelli rushed for a TD.
Naajy Rodgers’ touchdown run put the Knights (1-6) on the board with 4:13 left in the second quarter.
Jordan Valerius had three tackles for loss, including a sack. Frank Byrne recovered a fumble and Andrew Biasotti had a fourth-quarter interception for the Admirals.
Stephen Haynes: firstname.lastname@example.org, 845-437-4826, Twitter: @StephenHaynes4