Highland falls just short in final game
HIGHLAND — Thursday night’s final regular-season football game between Highland and Hermleigh was about what you’d expect for two teams with identical season and district records fighting for the No. 2 playoff spot in District 7 Six-Man.There were four lead changes, two in each half, before Hermleigh finally emerged with a 39-38 win to take the No. 2 berth and end Highland’s season.Highland, which finish-es 1-2 in district and 5-5 overall, took a 30-27 lead on Eli Shelton’s 47-yard TD run and a two-point Jacob Richburg kick in the third quarter. However, Hermleigh went ahead for the final time, 33-30, on Zach Digby’s 33-yard scor-ing run with 3:21 remain-ing in the period.It was still 33-30 until the final two minutes of the game when both teams lit up the scoreboard. How-ever, Digby’s 19-yard TD pass to D.J. Botts with 1:51 left provided Hermleigh (2-1, 6-4) with just enough points to claim victory.Hermleigh led 39-30 point, and the Cardinals still led by a point after a final Highland touchdown — on a 57-yard pass from Richburg to Michael Hyde — and two-point kick by Richburg with 1:08 remaining in the game.Highland then attemp-ted an onsides kick, but it proved unsuccessful and Hermleigh was able to run off the remaining time and claim a tight win.Highland rushed for 373 yards and narrowly missed having three 100-yard runners. Hyde had 174 yards on 22 carries, while Shel-ton ran 11 times for 108 yards and Shelby Howard, who scored three times, ran 12 times for 98 yards. Digby led Hermleigh with 100 yards on 14 rushes.Hermleigh had a 141-53 edge in passing as Digby completed 11 of 15 through the air. Richburg was 2-for-6 for 53 yards, with both completions going to Hyde. Howard’s three TDs came on runs of 15, 6 and 23 yards, all in the second quarter. The last TD, plus Richburg’s kick, gave the Hornets their first lead over Hermleigh (22-20), but the visitors regained a 27-22 edge at halftime.