Late scores lift Heidelberg to victory
Kaiserslautern's Rodney Lucas gains some yardage during Friday night's loss 18-13 loss to Heidelberg.
Stars and Stripes
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – The Heidelberg Lions waited until there were just four minutes left to play Friday night before unleashing two big plays that produced an 18-13 Division I victory over the Kaiserslautern Red Raiders.
Sophomore quarterback Tim Cuthbert made the first one, extending a play with a scramble to his left and connecting with his classmate Alfred Freed for a 47-yard scoring pass with 3 minutes, 36 seconds to go that erased a 7-6 deficit the Lions had battered themselves against since the first quarter.
“I saw that the pocket wasn’t going to form in time and saw that I’d have to scramble,” said Cuthbert, who darted to his left against a heavy K-town rush and threw the ball back across the field to Freed, who had slipped behind the defense on the right sideline. “I saw the hole, and I went.”
Despite the pressure, Cuthbert led Freed perfectly. Freed gathered the ball in and extended into the end zone for the go-ahead score with a K-town defensive back draped around his waist.
“He played a great game,” Heidelberg coach Larry Daffin said of his neophyte quarterback. “He’s going to show a lot of growth before the season’s over.”
Senior Cedric Davis followed the Cuthbert-to-Freed clutch TD with a 40-yard interception return on K-town’s next possession to tally the eventual game-winner.
At the time, Davis’s pick appeared to be just an exclamation point to Heidelberg’s rally, but quarterback Devin Joseph, who displayed an adroit grasp of the vertical passing game, led the Red Raiders down the field on a 78-yard drive capped with his 15-yard TD pass to Rodney Lucas with 1:45 to go. For the game, Joseph’s eight completions netted 130 yards.
Heidelberg, however, recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock to end a rainy, flag-plagued contest that consumed some three-and-a-half hours.
“You want to cut down on your mistakes,” said Daffin said about his team’s nearly game-long battle against turnovers, three of which ended scoring-drive opportunities, and penalties, which spelled the end of two other Heidelberg forays. “But as long as the kids are playing hard, that’s what matters. They kept playing hard.”
K-town took a 7-0 lead with just over nine seconds to play in the first period on a tough 8-yard scoring run by Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez ran off left tackle, broke a tackle in the secondary and bulled into the end zone.
Heidelberg looked to have equalized 4:50 before intermission when Justin Rodney scampered down the left sideline for a 20-yard score, but the Heidelberg PAT team laid one of the three eggs it would hatch Friday night on conversion tries to leave the Lions in a 7-6 hole which stood until the game’s waning moments.