Holy Cross closes with win over Willingboro

Willingboro quarterback Antonio Parnell is caught and sacked by Holy Cross defender Kenny Long in the fourth quarter. Parnell ran for two of the three Willingboro touchdowns in the loss.
Willingboro quarterback Antonio Parnell is caught and sacked by Holy Cross defender Kenny Long in the fourth quarter. Parnell ran for two of the three Willingboro touchdowns in the loss. (ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer)
Posted: December 01, 2013

Holy Cross running back Jimmy Hickey grew up in Delran, just around the corner from Frank Holmes, the man who would someday be his high school football coach.

Friday night, the coach described watching Hickey play youth football.

"He was 100 percent adrenaline, always that scrappy player who everybody thought was too small," Holmes said. "But not me, I never thought that. I would tell everyone, 'I'll take him all day.' "

In the final game of his high school career, as he's been doing for most of his life, Hickey again proved his coach right.

The 5-foot-7, 150-pound running back finished with a gritty 107 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries, helping his Lancers hold on for a 28-18 win at Willingboro in the final game of the season for both teams.

"It's kind of hitting me now that this is my last game," said Hickey, who wants to play in college but is undecided on where. "But it was a great four years and it was a great season."

The Lancers (7-4) were fresh off a loss in the Non-Public Group 2 semifinals, a disappointment but still the mark of a successful season.

Friday night, Holy Cross fell behind early after allowing Willingboro (3-7) to score on a 63-yard, seven-play opening drive.

The Lancers took the lead on the next drive on a 36-yard touchdown run by quarterback Brandon Simmons.

Simmons extended the lead to 14-6 on a 50-yard strike to Tymere DeShield late in the first quarter.

That was the last of the flashy plays for Holy Cross.

The Lancers held on in the second half by grinding out yards and keeping an athletic, dynamic Willingboro offense off the field.

Many of those tough yards came thanks to Hickey, who was just as effective running north and south as he was juking out Chimeras defenders. Hickey finished his senior season among the leaders in South Jersey with 1,583 rushing yards.

"My O-line did great today, and that's really how it's been all season, they come every game, prepared," Hickey said.

Holy Cross 14 0 7 7 - 28

Willingboro 6 0 12 0 - 18

W: Antonio Parnell 10 run (pass failed)

HC: Brandon Simmons 36 run (Troy Longley kick)

HC: Tymere DeShield 50 pass from Simmons (Longley kick)

W: Parnell 1 run (run failed)

HC: Jimmy Hickey 10 run (Longley kick)

W: Jonathan Bradshaw 46 run (run failed)

HC: Hickey 5 run (Longley kick)

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