COLUMBIA – Hickman football had everything riding on the second-to-last play of their Friday evening game against Helias Catholic High School.
Helias quarterback Wyatt Porter was leading his team on another long drive, carving up a Hickman defense that had stood strong for much of the night. Up 21-14 with less than 15 seconds in the game, Hickman stopped Helias within inches of their goal line.
Up to that point, momentum was firmly on Helias' side, and Hickman’s perfect record was in the balance. With only seconds remaining, the Kewpies’ biggest playmaker, Deven Larry, made the most crucial play of the game.
Porter dropped back to pass and looked for his receiver in the end zone on a quick-out route, but Larry was one step ahead of him, jumping the route and intercepting the pass to seal the 21-14 victory for Hickman.
“He kept calling for the ball, so I saw it coming and just stepped in front of it,” Larry said. “I had to step up for the mistakes I made on defense."
While Larry’s interception clinched the victory, it was his contribution to the running game and special teams that sparked his team.
Just when Helias had turned the momentum, cutting Hickman’s lead to 14-7, Larry turned it right back for Hickman.
He collected the kickoff inside Hickman’s 20-yard line, found a seam and shrugged off tacklers until he was brought down at the opposition’s 24-yard line.
“He’s one of, if not the best, back in the Central Missouri area,” coach Arnel Monroe said. “He’s going to continue to make plays for us.”
But after that long return, Larry needed a breather, which forced the Kewpies to look to their deep backfield. Junior tailback Bohannon Davidson took it the rest of the way, finishing off the drive with a 3-yard touchdown.
“I was just counting on my teammates,” Larry said. “Bohannon’s a big threat.”
Davidson and Larry’s work in the backfield allowed Justise Keith, the third member of the backfield tandem, to conserve his energy for defense. Keith had an interception and a sack for the Kewpies while taking snaps at linebacker to counteract Helias’ quick passing game.
“Since we have three running backs, it gives us time to get a break, so I can excel on offense or defense,” Keith said. “Apparently, tonight it was defense.”
With the win, Hickman is 4-0 on the season, but the biggest test lies ahead. Hickman will take on Rock Bridge at Faurot Field on Friday in the annual Providence Bowl. Rock Bridge is coming off a 27-14 loss to Raymore-Peculiar, their first of the season.
“They’re going to be fired up,” Monroe said. “And we are, too.”