EXETER — The football connection between Londonderry High School juniors Drew Heenan and Andrew Kullman began in second grade, and on Saturday, that connection reached the destination they’ve been dreaming of ever since.
Heenan completed five passes for 129 yards to Kullman, including two touchdown passes that switched the momentum to Londonderry’s favor and helped secure a 24-14 victory over previously undefeated Winnacunnet in the Division I championship game at Exeter High School’s William Ball Stadium.
“I’ve been growing up with that kid. I’ve known him since I was 5, and it’s a long-lasting relationship between him and me,” Heenan said. “I know where he is going to be and we put in a lot of work for this and I’m happy we could do this together.”
Heenan completed nine of 11 passes for 201 yards on the day, but he didn’t find Kullman until a pair of completions late in the second quarter with Exeter ahead 7-0.
Londonderry (11-1) was forced into a third-and-9 on the opening drive of the second half when Heenan completed a pass down the middle and a wide-open Kullman completed the 62-yard scoring pass to tie the game at 7-7 with 10:30 left in the third quarter.
“It changed momentum a lot,” Kullman said. “You could definitely tell that Winnacunnet got down after that. It gave us more hope then we had. I knew during the week we could get those plays. We saw it open on film, and we just had to hit them.
A 23-yard completion between the two on Londonderry’s next drive helped set up Jake Schena’s 12-yard TD that gave the Lancers the lead.
After the Warriors tied it at 14, Heenan responded on the ensuing drive with a 26-yard completion on third-and-10 to Trevor Weinmann and followed two plays later by finding Kullman over the top for a 37-yard touchdown pass to give Londonderry a 21-14 lead with 1:06 left in the third.
“Drew placed the ball great and it just came out of the sun, I made an adjustment, caught the ball and I was off,” Kullman said. “I’ve been playing with him since second grade and we’ve always dreamed about it and that dream came true today.”
Londonderry coach Jimmy Lauzon didn’t plan on having so many big plays through the air, noting the longest play Winnacunnet (11-1) had given up all season was 28 yards. The Warriors had allowed an average of nine points a game heading into Saturday.
“We came in here thinking that those big plays would be limited and we’d have to capitalize on that opportunity when we see it,” Lauzon said. “We got a couple of great looks and came up with some huge plays.”
Heenan put the game out of reach by finding Colby Ramshaw twice for 38 yards to help set up Dylan Wrisley’s 32-yard field goal that gave Londonderry a 24-14 lead late in regulation.
“They have a lot of really good athletes and you try to take some things away, but you can’t take everything away, and sometimes people make some big plays,” Winnacunnet coach Ryan Francouer said. “In the third quarter, they made those big plays and hats off to them for finding the right moments.”