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Wingenroth's Hart career comes full circle

10 years after ball boy duty for Hart's last CIF team, senior wins one for himself

Posted: December 6, 2013 11:46 p.m.
Updated: December 6, 2013 11:46 p.m.
Hart's Connor Wingeroth runs the ball as the Valencia defense gives chase on Friday night at Valencia High. Hart's Connor Wingeroth runs the ball as the Valencia defense gives chase on Friday night at Valencia High.
Hart's Connor Wingeroth runs the ball as the Valencia defense gives chase on Friday night at Valencia High.

Ten years ago, Connor Wingenroth was on the sidelines at the Home Depot Center as a ballboy for the Hart Indians in the CIF-Southern Section Division II championship game.

It became Hart’s sixth CIF championship in nine years and eighth overall.

And for the next nine years, nothing.

On Friday night at Valencia High in the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division championship game, Wingenroth intercepted Jake Wallace in the end zone with 14 seconds remaining in the game, clinching a 28-21 Hart victory.

“Ten years later, it’s only right,” Wingenroth said. “It’s kind of like a Cinderella story. The ball felt like it was in the air for 30 seconds.”

Or 10 years.

In the 10 years since the last Indians title, there have been lots of shots taken at the Hart program, mostly because the Indians couldn’t return to the top of the mountain despite CIF championship game appearances in 2005 and 2007.

Wingenroth wouldn’t let that happen this time around.

He was bloodied and battled, cramping in the second half, yet never stopped.

“All his effort on the field, without him, we wouldn’t be here,” said Hart head coach Mike Herrington.

Wingenroth carried the ball 32 times for 183 yards and had a creative touchdown.

Hart quarterback Brady White connected with his cousin and wide receiver Chase White on the Viking 18-yard line. Chase then pitched to Wingenroth immediately coming around the corner for a hook-and-ladder touchdown that gave the Indians a 21-10 lead.

For all Wingenroth’s doing, though, he was part of a unit that was the difference in the game.

The Hart secondary — Wingenroth, Trent Irwin (who intercepted a pass in the second quarter), Ryan Wood, Blake Fall and Wes Fitzpatrick blanketed Valencia’s tremendous group of wide receivers.

Valencia quarterback Jake Wallace had time at many points in the game, but the Indians refused to let Viking receivers get open.

Wallace was 12-of-25 for 162 yards and two interceptions.

Vikings senior Nick Jones, who caught 52 passes for 1,222 yards with 16 touchdowns coming into the game, had just four catches for 55 yards.

Malik Townsend, who had 67 catches coming in, made just two for 25 yards.

“They did a great job defensively,” said Valencia head coach Larry Muir. “We were fighting for everything we could get.”

There was just one major breakdown for the secondary.

Wallace connected with Jones on a 37-yard pass with 49 seconds left that brought the Vikings to the Hart 8-yard line.

The Vikings were a touchdown and extra point away from tying the score.

But on the next play, Hart’s Cody Shoemaker sacked Wallace, taking the ball back to the Hart 21-yard line.

On the ensuing play, Wallace took the snap and his time.

He moved around the pocket an waited for receivers to get open.

Finally, he let it fly into the left corner, and Wingenroth caught it as if he were the intended receiver.

Hart’s former ball boy then handed it to the referee.

“I should have kept it,” he said.


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