Herndon 30, Hayfield 24
Herndon free safety Mike Moise stared into the face mask of the Hayfield quarterback, hoping to catch a glimpse of his eyes. When he did, Moise locked in and broke on the pass, stretched out his arms out and made the biggest interception of his career.
Moise's clutch pickoff at the 6-yard line in the second overtime last night clinched the Hornets' 30-24 victory over visiting Hayfield in a Virginia AAA nondistrict game. The win improved Herndon's record to 3-0, and may go a long way toward determining whether the Hornets get into the playoffs when power points are calculated later in the season.
Moise's interception prevented what could have a devastating loss. Moments earlier, Hornets place kicker Zach Foster missed an extra point after Herndon scored, making the score 30-24 and leaving the door open for Hayfield. Foster had sent the game into overtime with a 35-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter, tying the score at 17. Moise helped set up Foster's kick by blocking a Hayfield punt deep in Hawks territory.
But Hayfield (2-1) never got the chance to capitalize on Foster's miss. Herndon lineman Kevin Weller sacked Hayfield's quarterback on the Hawks' first play of the second overtime for a two-yard loss. The Hawks' next pass fell incomplete, thanks to pressure up the middle by Herndon lineman Jeremiah McDaniel. And then Moise's interception ended the game, setting off a wild celebration on the Herndon sideline.
"That was the biggest play I ever made, hands down," Moise said. "This win sets the tone for the rest of the season. It really shows what this team is about."
Although they play in different districts -- Hayfield in the Patriot and Herndon in the Concorde -- this game has gone a long way toward determining the playoff fate of both teams in recent years. Herndon beat the Hawks last year and qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 1997, thanks in large part to the power points it earned in that game.
"Yes, this makes it more difficult to get there," Hayfield Coach Billy Pugh said, referring to the playoffs, a place the Hawks haven't been since making back-to-back appearances in 2000 and 2001.
Herndon tailback Solomon Hedd-Williams led all rushers with 131 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries, including a score in the first overtime that tied the game at 24. Senior fullback Marcus Blaha ran for 31 yards and two touchdowns, the second from three yards out in the second overtime that was the game winner.