Hart helped the Tigers jump out to a 27-0 halftime lead with a receiving touchdown and an interception returned for a touchdown. He came up with two more interceptions in the second half, one returned for a touchdown and one that sealed the victory for King’s Ridge. He had 174 yards receiving on six catches.
“Penny Hart is one of the best football players I have been around,” King’s Ridge coach Jeff Pickren said. “Obviously, he is an unbelievable player and I am just very proud of him. I am glad he is coming back again next year.”
Walker (4-3, 2-2 Region 6A (B)) was stymied in the first half and gained only 38 yards of total offense in the half with two first downs. The Wolverines turned to the passing attack in the second half.
Quarterback Cameron Bloebaum went 9-for-16 with 108 yards through the air and a touchdown in the second half, but threw two crucial interceptions. With 2:38 remaining in the third quarter, Bloebaum found Kevin Bray for a 16-yard touchdown and the rapid scoring began.
King’s Ridge (3-4, 2-2) pushed the lead to 34-7 on Connor Henderson’s third touchdown of the game, a 1-yard run. Henderson led all rushers with 83 yards in the game and scored on runs of 8 and 13 yards in the first half.
Walker drove the ball down the field, aided by two first downs via Tiger penalty, and cut the lead to 34-14 on a 7-yard touchdown run by Bloebaum on fourth-and-goal. The Wolverines gained six first downs via Tigers penalties in the second half.
After a failed onside kick, and a mere 19 seconds later, King’s Ridge fumbled and Walker’s Justin Delbrook picked up the loose ball and rumbled 50 yards for a touchdown.
“We were making some mistakes in that first half. But one of the things we have to learn to do is to turn around and come right back when we get down,” Walker coach John East said. “I am extremely proud of what happened tonight in the sense that we did not get down. We came back and we had a shot. We got it within two scores and the onside kicks were working, our offense was playing great and our defense was playing great.”
East said his team learned a valuable lesson in Friday’s contest.
“One of the things you have to learn to do when you are down is figure out how to come back,” he said. “I am proud of our players (Friday) and I think we learned something big about our program (Friday).”
Walker recovered the ensuing onside kick, but all possibility for a comeback was crushed when Hart returned his second interception for a touchdown to give the Tigers a 41-21 lead.
The Wolverines scored again on fourth down when Zack Eikost found Bray wide open in the end zone on a double pass for a 22-yard touchdown. Hart blocked the extra-point attempt and King’s Ridge held a 41-27 lead.
After the Tigers failed to gain a first down on four plays on their next drive, Hart intercepted Bloebaum for the third time to end any chance of a Walker comeback.
Hart scored the first points of the game on an 86-yard touchdown catch from Tigers quarterback Henry Jones.
“He is just a great athlete,” East said. “He has speed and he has agility out there on offense and defense.”
One week after running for 299 yards and four touchdowns, running back Gaines Lahue was held to minus-9 yards rushing in the game. The Wolverines as a team managed just 82 yards rushing on 38 carries tonight.
Pickren said his team came in with a goal to not allow the Wolverines to gain big yards on the ground.
“We told them all week that we expected them to do that and our kids did a great job and they stepped up,” Pickren said. “We had a good game plan and they executed the game plan.”