Mason Sargent snagged the ball out of the air and tumbled over the defender for an apparent go-ahead touchdown, sending the Heritage High crowd into a frenzy, but the referee pointed to the ground and waved his arms, signaling an incomplete pass.
"I caught it, it didn't touch the ground," Sargent said after game. "(The referee) said I was juggling it on the way down. I wasn't. We have it on film."
The film won't change the outcome of the game, as Windsor (1-1) rallied for 21 consecutive points in the second half to win 35-31 and drop the Patriots to 0-3 on the season.
Julian Johnson scored two rushing touchdowns, Nick Zalec picked up 109 yards on 10 carries, and the Patriots racked up 293 yards rushing. The balanced running attack helped the Patriots push out to a 31-14 lead with 4:35 left in the third quarter, and the game appeared to be in hand for Heritage.
Windsor's balanced offense blitzed the Heritage defense for 463 yards (228 rushing, 235 passing). Quarterback Derrick Hensley threw for 235 yards and two touchdowns, and he scored two more times on the ground, gaining 68 yards on 14 carries. Chad Tolson carried the load for the Windsor running game with 18 carries for 146 yards.
After Hensley scored on a 1-yard run to make the score 35-31 with 5:40 remaining, Heritage still had hope.
The Patriots moved the ball deep into Windsor territory on runs by quarterback Anthony Carter and Carson Cleverly with the help of a late-hit penalty. Carter took a shot at the end zone with a 33-yard bomb to Travon Covington-Zeno, but the ball went off Covington-Zeno's finger tips incomplete.
A procedure penalty on third down set the Patriots back five yards, but that didn't deter Carter. He rolled out to his left and fired a strike downfield to Sargent, who elevated for the ball, brought it in to his chest and then rolled over the defender at the goal line in one motion.
Sargent clearly grabbed the ball in the air, but what wasn't clear to the sidelines was what happened as he tumbled over the defender and hit the ground. The center referee signaled almost immediately incomplete. With one last chance on fourth down, Carter was hit while trying to throw and fumbled the ball over to Windsor, who ran the clock out for the victory.
Windsor 35, Heritage 31
Windsor 7 7 7 14-- 35
Heritage 3 14 14 0-- 31
W -- Purter 1 run (Henry kick)
H -- Barrios 28 FG
H -- Malabato 10 run (Barrios kick)
W -- Tobon 5 pass from Hensley (Henry kick)
H -- Johnson 1 run (Barrios kick)
H -- Johnson 5 run (Barrios kick)
H -- Zalec 6 run (Barrios kick)
W -- Hensley 7 run (Henry kick)
W -- Bassage 21 pass from Hensley Henry kick)
W -- Hensley 1 run (Henry kick)
Rushing: W -- Tolson 18-146, Hensley 14-68, Purter 7-14, Jones 1-0. Totals 40-228. H -- Zalec 14-109, Cleverly 10-60, Johnson 10-41, Carter 7-34, Sargent 5-31, Malabato 1-10, Machado 2-8. Totals 49-293. Passing: W -- Hensley 12-21-1 235. H -- Carter 7-12-0 80. Receiving: W -- Tobon 4-85, Bassage 4-77, Tolson 3-40, Lauer 1-33. Totals 12-235. H -- Zalec 2-11, Cleverly 1-23, Calegari 1-15, Covington-Zeno 1-15, Sargent 1-9, Briseno 1-7. Totals 7-80. Fumbles/lost: Windsor 1/0, Heritage 2/2. Records: Windsor 1-1, Heritage 0-3.