PATASKALA – Licking Heights predominantly went to its stack-I offense in its Week 10 game against Johnstown.
That meant senior Chris DeLeau was going to receive virtually no break. The way DeLeau chased after an errant snap in the final seconds, clinching the Hornets’ 9-6 victory with his recovery, it appeared he could have gone another four quarters.
DeLeau took coach Darren Waters’ challenge before the season to be a leader, and he led his classmates to their signature moment of the 2014 season. Heights snapped its three-game losing streak, earned its third consecutive winning season, and denied Johnstown a chance to have a first-round home playoff game.
“We showed (the underclassmen) that this is our identity,” DeLeau said. “Next year is going to be even better for them.”
DeLeau had a season-high 20 carries from his middle back position in the stack. He had five carries, Robbie Moore five and Kendall Bradley four on Heights’ 14-play drive to start the game. Moore eventually capped the drive with a 6-yard touchdown run. Bradley finished with 75 yards, DeLeau 68 and Moore 45.
“DeLeau did an outstanding job for us,” Waters said. “We refer to him as the bread truck. He is about 220 pounds and does a great job carrying the ball. An unsung hero in front of him is our up back Cameron Malicoate, who might be about half of his size but is a tough tenacious kid.”
DeLeau also was at the center of a defensive effort that limited Johnstown to 131 rushing yards. Standout Cody Farley gained a season-low 94.
Mershawn McMahan recovered a fumble in the second quarter, and L.A. Kelly then ran down quarterback Cody Workman in the back of the end zone for a safety after Johnstown’s first bad snap. Joey Harrell recovered a fumble on a fourth-quarter punt return before DeLeau’s recovery gave the Hornets their third forced turnover.
“We just wanted to end on a good note and show that, when we play our best football, we can hang with anyone,” said senior Luke Kramer, who had two punts in the second half downed inside the 5-yard line. “We wanted to leave the players coming back next year a sense of pride.”
Aug. 29: Heights 41, Mifflin 10
Sept. 5: Hamilton Twp. 56, Heights 21
Sept. 12: Heights 37, Newark 14
Sept. 19: Heights 47, Heath 13
Sept. 26: Heights 47, Northridge 7
Oct. 3: Heights 78, Lakewood 14
Oct. 10: Granville 26, Heights 21
Oct. 17: Valley 26, Heights 9
Oct. 24: Watkins 10, Heights 7
Oct. 31: Heights 9, Johnstown 6