It was Safari Night at Patrick Henry High School as the Patriots played host to Deep Run.
Two Patrick Henry sophomores – Alex Sikkar and Samandre Williams – were hunting the biggest game.
With senior Hunter Hart on the sidelines for the third straight game and fellow senior Terrance Oxendine who “wows’ the crowd with every possession, it was Sikkar and Williams who ran wild over and provided the Patriots with an adventurous 30-27 win over visiting Deep Run.
According to first-year coach Keith Braxton, his team was resilient for the third straight game and his youngsters stepped up.
“Even though Deep Run took the first possession down field for the score, we continued to fight,” Braxton explained. “We began to challenge them.”
The start was eerily like the previous week’s home game against Glen Allen, when it marched down the field easily for the first score before Patrick Henry put the clamps down.
“Also, Alex played a good game,” Braxton added. “He’s getting better every week. He has matured a lot since we named him the starter for the Caroline game.
“Samandre also played a good game. Defensively, we’ve got some things to clean up, I think. We’ll be better next week. It wasn’t pretty, but we did enough.”
Sikkar, a 6-0, 165-pounder, directed the offense that overcame a 6-0 deficit and started to shine with each snap.
On the Patriots first score, he hit Oxendine on a 14-yard over-the-shoulder catch in the left-corner of the end zone for the score. Oxendine added the two-point conversion on a run and the home team took its first lead at 8-6.
However, Deep Run quarterback Aidan Wheeler scored the second of three touchdowns on the first play of the second as the Wildcats re-took the lead at 13-8.
Patrick Henry then began the battle of field position and closed the gap when senior Jamel Jackson tackled Deep Run punter Jason DeSchon in the end zone for the safety.
Following the short kickoff, Jackson set up the Patriots within striking range and Williams, a 6-0, 180-pounder, went 22 yards for his first touchdown of the game. On a nice note, Williams converted the two-point conversion on a fade-route pass from Sikkar and they went ahead 18-13.
But Wheeler was not done year and added his third TD of the half with 8.8. seconds left and the visitors took a 20-18 lead into the locker room at intermission.
Early in the third quarter, Sikkar called his own number and rambled 60-yards for the touchdown that would put Patrick Henry up for goo at 24-20 and then for the final score he connected with Devyn Coles from 9 yards out to widened the lead to 30-20 before Deep Run put on a late furry.
The Wildcats pulled to within 30-27 on Wheeler’s fourth TD of the game from 5 yards out and the Colonial District team got one more opportunity with the ball before time ran out.
In the final tally, Sikkar tossed for 45 yards on 5 for 10 passing and added 73 yards on the ground on nine carries. Williams recorded a game-high 119 yards on 19 carries and two TDs while Oxendine finished with 44 yards rushing on 10 carries.
Wheeler, a 5-11, 180-pound junior paced the Wildcats with 135 yards rushing on 20 carries and registered 55 yards passing on a 7-of-19 effort while senior Chris Konstantinidis chipped in with a rugged 74 yards on 14 carries and James Ellis added 65 yards on eight carries.
With the win, Patrick Henry improved to 3-0 while Deep Run fell to 1-2.