Highland downs Pekin

Photo by Kevin Rohr

Pekin’s Justice Kirkbride (30) defends on a pass for Highland’s Zane Arnold (11).
Photo by Kevin Rohr Pekin’s Justice Kirkbride (30) defends on a pass for Highland’s Zane Arnold (11).

RIVERSIDE — In a game earlier this season at home against Lisbon, Highland was stopped short of the end zone with 2 seconds remaining in the game and lost.

Friday at home, Highland scored on a quarterback sneak on the final play of the game for a 25-24 win over Pekin in a Class A District 6 game.

“I thought it was two evenly matched teams,” Highland co-head coach Joe Donovan said. “The first half, Pekin controlled the line of scrimmage and I thought we controlled it the second half.”

Highland was out of timeouts when it got the ball to the 1-yard line on a pass to Mason McFarland and it took two quarterback sneaks by Connor Grinstead to get the ball in for the TD. McFarland caught five passes in the game for 112 yards, including a 17-yard TD reception.

Grinstead was 10 for 18 passing for 182 yards and ran 13 times for 32 yards. Cole Adamson and Owen Donovan combined for 105 yards on 25 carries. Zane Arnold caught four passes for 58 yards and ran twice for eight yards.

Pekin’s stats were unavailable at press time.

“I thought that the difference was how well our defense played the second half,” Coach Donovan said. “We limited Pekin’s possessions and that allowed us more opportunities on offense and we got things going with the run game and that helped open up the passing game.”

Donovan said he felt the momentum shift late in the third quarter and early in the fourth.

“We got our run game really rolling in the late in the third. That and our defense getting stops and getting off the field helped shift the momentum.”

Pekin is 2-4 overall and 1-1 in the district while Highland is 4-2, 1-1. Highland plays at Durant Friday while Pekin hosts BGM.