The Kick Heard ‘Round Clark County


Kristen Taylor

Player number 48 David Heaton kicking the ball for the winning point.

Henderson State University’s Football team was on the road facing conference opponent Oklahoma Baptist University on Saturday, November 6th. Going into the game, Henderson had eight wins and only one loss. They were down 34-33 with only one second left on the clock. The Reddies turned to their Senior kicker, David Heaton.

The game was a back and forth battle between the two teams who both have top offenses in the conference. Defense was the story in the first half to keep the game to a low score through the first 30 minutes of play. Oklahoma Baptist had the lead at the half 14-9.

They extended their lead 21-12 with a touchdown at the 2:42 mark in the third quarter. The reddies answered with a huge play from L’liott Curry who took a slant route 66 yards for a touchdown. On the first play of the next drive, OKBU’s pass was tipped and picked off by HSU’s Cameron Thomas. Seconds later, the Reddies scored again courtesy of Curry who made a diving catch in the end zone to put Henderson in front 26-21.

After a stop by its defense, the Reddies marched back down field with an 11-play, 87 yard drive with a 17-yard run from Fredrick O’Donald for another touchdown to lead 33-21 with 9:13 remaining.

OKBU gained momentum from an 11-play, 58-yard scoring drive to cut the deficit down to 33-28 with 5:54 to go. Henderson proceeded to go three-and-out and OKBU struck back with a 46-yard touchdown run on a quarterback draw to take the lead 34-33 with 3:37 left on the clock.

After throwing an interception and having it marched down to the Henderson 9-yard line, it looked like hope was lost for HSU. Henderson’s defense came up with its biggest stop of the season and forced an OKBU turnover on downs at the 1-yard line with 2:14 on the clock.

The Reddies had no timeouts and were on their own 1-yard line. Adam Morse had two big scrambles for HSU and also connected with Curry for 17 yards to move the ball into OKBU territory. Morse found Curry for one last 6-yard completion to the OKBU 26-yard line. Curry stepped out of bounds with one second left on the clock.

The Reddies brought on David Heaton who had previously connected on a 38-yard field goal. “In clutch moments or any large moment, my world goes completely silent. As soon as I stepped on the field, I could not hear a single person or see anyone except for my brother, who is the holder. Surprisingly it felt like any other kick in practice with just me and my brother,” said Heaton.

With a perfect hold and perfect connection from the Heaton brothers, the ball was in the air and on its way. “The ball in the air felt like it was in slow motion and everyone else saw that it was going in and they started celebrating early. With a strong wind against me, I could not celebrate until I saw it go in. At that moment, I fell to my knees full of emotion because everything leading to that moment was worth it,” stated Heaton. Drilling the field goal gave Henderson the win 36-34. This kick was a career-best 43-yard field goal for Heaton and the longest kick of the season for Henderson. This also might be the first time in NCAA history where one brother was the holder and one brother was the kicker for a game winning field-goal.

The Reddies will now look to earn a share of the GAC title when they walk across the street to face rival Ouachita Baptist University, who is 8-2, for the 94th Battle of the Ravine. “My hope moving forward is the massive game against OBU. We can only focus on one game at a time and not worry about the playoffs for now,” said Heaton.