By CRAIG HALL
Heavener’s hopes of going 2-0 to start the season for the first time since 2005 came up short against Central Sallisaw Friday night.
The Tigers scored with 1.5 seconds before halftime to change the momentum in the game, went ahead in the third quarter then benefitted from a Heavener touchdown being nullified by a penalty before scoring a late touchdown on a prayer to seal a 32-23 win over the Wolves Friday night.
Heavener is 1-1 and makes its first road trip to Hartshorne next week. Central is 1-0 and hosts Warner next week.
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While the loss was disappointing, unlike so many Heavener games over the years, this was not one the Wolves lost. It was one Central won by constantly making big plays throughout the game, such as the touchdown before halftime and overcoming a 20-8 lead in the first half.
Heavener’s Jaxon Armstrong had another stellar night, rushing for 123 yards on 7 carries, including a 90-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that gave Heavener a two-touchdown lead.
After the Wolves’ go-ahead touchdown run was nullified by a holding call, Fernando Villanueva kicked a 27-yard field goal to cut the Tigers’ advantage to 24-23.
Central answered with a prayer. Facing fourth and long from the Heavener 33, Central quarterback Joseph Lee was chased backwards before he heaved a pass into the end zone that was caught by Connor Green. Then, the two-point conversion run by Lee was good, giving the Tigers a two-score lead midway through the final quarter.
After Central grabbed an early 8-0 lead, Heavener scored three times to take the 20-8 lead on two touchdowns by running back P.J. Riddley before Armstrong got loose and outran everybody for the 90-yard touchdown.
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