Offensive weaponry abounded in Hart High's 35-28 victory over Antelope Valley in Friday night's Southern Section Division II final at Antelope Valley High.
Hart's Steve McKeon filled the frigid air with long spirals. Antelope Valley's Jermaine Lewis electrified the crowd with dazzling runs.
But, as the adage goes, defense wins football games. And Hart's would have to step to the fore if the Indians were to avenge last season's disappointing 36-15 loss to the Antelopes in the Division II final.
At least, that's what Hart Coach Mike Herrington told his players at halftime when the Indians trailed, 21-14.
Linebacker Marc Zimmerman listened. Linebacker Todd Hourigan did not.
"He said we had to hold them," Zimmerman said. "We knew they had an awesome offense. But if we just held them twice, we'd win."
Actually, Hart stopped three Antelope Valley drives, the final time with 1 minute 24 seconds to play when Zimmerman batted down a pass intended for Trymon Redick in the end zone.
"I saw Redick's eyes get real wide," said Zimmerman, who has a school-record 14 career interceptions. "I knew there was going to be a play."
Hourigan didn't know if he would see the end. Hourigan suffered a bruised tailbone on the final play of the first half and lay motionless for several minutes as his teammates headed for the locker room.
Consequently, Hourigan caught only the tail end of Herrington's rallying speech. But the message registered.
Hourigan made two key plays as the Indians forced Antelope Valley to punt for the first time moments after Ted Iacenda's 45-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter tied the score, 21-21.
Hourigan stacked up Lewis for a one-yard gain on first down, then batted down a pass to Cade Smith on third down.
"I don't know if I got hit on the tailbone or someone landed on my tailbone, but it was really numb," Hourigan said. "I don't wear a tail pad. Pretty stupid, I guess. But that's football."
And so is defense.