Wyoming East’s Christian Hedinger made a big impact in his first varsity football game.
Hedinger, a junior, caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Griffith and ran an 85-yard interception back for another score to help the Warriors nip Mingo Central, 19-16, in the season opener for both teams on Friday night at New Richmond.
WEHS coach Gary Poindexter had predicted before the season that Hedinger would be one of the new additions which would help his team.
“Christian is an athlete and he works hard every day,” the coach remarked.
Each team scored once in the first half, and the Miners clung to a one-point edge, 8-7, for much of the night. East got the ball at the Miners 35 with eight minutes to play and moved to the 20 when Central was flagged for pass interference.
The Miners stuffed two running plays for losses, On third and 14 at the Central 24, East quarterback Aaron Griffith found Hedinger alone along the sideline. Hedinger caught the ball at the one and stepped into the end zone.
That put East up, 13-8, with 5:50 to play.
The Miners mounted a threat of their own, marching to the Warriors 23 with 2:08 showing.
Hedinger stepped in front of a pass across the middle, broke to the outside and went 85 yards for a touchdown to give East a 19-8 lead.
“They had been running that play all night,” Hedinger commented. “I got the ball and ran down the field. Chris Lowman made a great block on it.”
The Miners used the passing game to roll down the field and scored on a short run by Steven Hammond with :34.5 seconds to play. The two-point try was good, making it 19-16.
Central’s onside kick attempt was unsuccessful, and East ran out the clock.
“I thought out our offensive line did a great job in the second half,” Poindexter commented. “I’m happy for our seniors. The hard work they’ve put in since December paid off.”
Most of the game was a defensive struggle.
Central fumbled deep in its own territory in the first quarter, and East’s Jonathan Culicerto recovered.
On fourth and goal, Chris Cecil plunged in from two yards out. Cecil booted the extra point to make it 7-0.
The Miners answered early in the second with a four-play, 62-yard scoring drive.
Joe May went 23 yards for the touchdown with 10:33 on the clock.
Chance Lester caught the conversion pass, giving Central the 8-7 edge.
The Warriors drove to the MC five with less than a minute left in the first half, but the Miners blocked an East field goal try.
A 28-yard run by Brian Whitt—the longest play from scrimmage all night by either team—moved WEHS to the Miners 22 late in the third stanza.
East stalled at the six, and a field goal attempt was short.
East had the upper hand through the second half
May had 89 yards rushing on 22 carries for the Miners. Lester rushed for 47 yards on six carries. Hammond was 8-12 passing for 90 yards.
Jacob Summe rushed for 40 yards on 21 attempts for East. Hedinger caught a 24-yard touchdown pass and had a pair of interceptions.
Culicerto and Cecil had fumble recoveries.
Griffith was 3-7 for 39 yards and one TD.
“This is one of the games we really wanted to win,” Hedinger commented.
“Our guys didn’t get tired in the second half,” Poindexter noted. “And we didn’t make the little mistakes that killed us in games last year.”
East had no turnovers on the night, while Central had four.
The Warriors (1-0) visit rival Westside this Friday at 7:30 p.m.