By: Pat Disabato
Trailing 14-0 at halftime to Lincoln-Way Central, Lincoln-Way East needed some sort of spark.
Running back AJ Henning provided it, and a whole lot more.
Henning took the first play from scrimmage of the second half 63 yards for a touchdown. It was his first carry of the game, and the 5-foot-10, 170-pound sophomore was just getting started.
Henning added an 8-yard TD run and 51-yard TD reception to lead the Griffins to a 28-14 SouthWest Suburban win in New Lenox.
Henning finished with 98 yards rushing on six carries. He confirmed he was somewhat frustrated by his inactivity in the first half.
“I wanted the ball,” Henning said. “I was definitely motivated. I knew I was getting the ball the first play and I had to make a statement. I saw the crease and I turned on the jets.”
Lincoln-Way East quarterback Brendan Morrissey followed Henning’s TD run with an 83-yard score that tied the game 14-14 with 5:19 left in the third quarter.
Even when they were trailing, Morrissey believed the Griffins were going to prevail.
“We weren’t moving the ball in the first half,” Morrissey said. “We were confident we would get it going in the second half. We hit two big plays that got us back in the game.”
An interception by Max Cesario at the start of the fourth quarter gave the Griffins outstanding field position at Central’s 15. Two plays later, Henning scooted in from the 8 for a 21-14 lead.