Hart football beats Downey for Herrington’s 300th win

Hart head coach Mike Herrington, left, talks to quarterback Zach Johnson (16) during the first half on the sidelines during the game against Downey at Hart on Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal

Hart football beat Downey 19-13 Friday night at College of the Canyons to earn head coach Mike Herrington his 300th career win.

“I’m just happy we were able to hang in for that victory,” Herrington said. “The other stuff is just … fun, but we’ve got to focus on the season and not this. I appreciate everyone that’s been with us and involved in the program throughout the years. They all made this happen.”

With the win, Herrington’s career record stands at 300-97-1.

Zach Johnson threw two touchdowns in the first half to get early momentum for the Indians (3-2 overall).

First, he connected with Luke Madison for an eight-yard score with 5:35 left in the first quarter. Later, with three minutes remaining in the half, Johnson threw a 38-yard bomb to Ashton Thomas to increase the score to 13-0.

Hart was down two starters in the receiving corps, with Drew Munoz and Ryan Tomaszewski out with injury, but there were a variety of players ready to fill the roles.

“We did such a good job of preparing in practice and making sure those guys knew what to do,” Johnson said. “They did a good job of really stepping in, not missing a beat, knowing exactly what they’re supposed to do and then playing to a level that helps us win games.”

On the third play of the second quarter, Max Bjorkman intercepted a pass from Downey’s Pedro De Anda, then hurdled a player to give Hart possession at the 38-yard line. However, the Indians were unable to capitalize with a touchdown.

The Vikings (1-4) recovered their own punt towards the end of the second quarter, but the Indians’ defense was able to hold them and keep the shutout intact going into halftime.

Hart’s Ashton Thomas (33) makes a catch on a long pass to score Hart’s second touchdown in the first quarter against Downey at Hart on Friday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Hart gave up two touchdowns in the last three minutes of the third quarter. Downey’s Antonio Ruiz rushed in for a one-yard touchdown at 2:20.

The Vikings recovered their own punt, then Christopher Hernandez completed a 22-yard pass to Dillon Laurer just as time was expiring. The PAT was no good, keeping the score tied at 13-13.

Johnson threw for his third and final touchdown of the evening with 6:04 remaining in the game, passing to Taden Littleford for a three-yard score to make it 19-13.

Littleford ran the ball to run the clock and get Herrington to his historic win.

“There’s so much legacy, there’s so many quarterbacks that he’s helped through this system and go on to college and even the NFL, and there’s so many great players and great teams and great wins that he’s had over the years,” Johnson said.

Hart begins its Foothill League schedule on Oct. 4 against Saugus. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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