Under the lights at Evans Memorial Stadium Friday night, the Class AAAAA, No. 10 ranked Heritage Patriots soundly defeated the Seminoles of Salem High 21-7.
Deadlocked at zero for all of the first quarter and most of the second, it was the Patriots' defense that took advantage of their opponent's mistakes. Raking in three interceptions in the first half, the Patriots secondary put their offense in great position to score.
With 1:11 left in the first half, senior halfback Mercer Bradley, found the end zone on a 10-yard rush which put the Patriots ahead of the Seminoles 7-0 just before halftime.
The Patriots' solid defensive play continued to stifle any and all runs the Seminoles attempted to make.
The highlight of the night came when sophomore quarterback/defensive back Obe Fortune returned a punt for 64 yards, all the way to the Patriots' 1-yard line late in the third, to which the Patriots scored on the ensuing drive.
Great field position also played a key role in the Patriots win, as they capitalized on the play of both their defense and special teams to force the Seminoles to commit their fair share of turnovers.
"Our defense and how well they played - even had to overcome our mistakes on special teams. Their endurance and their stamina for staying on the field," Frazier said contributed to last night's win.
Permanently swinging the momentum in their favor, senior linebacker Chase Alford scored off of yet another Seminole fumble with 6:50 left in the game. After a brief pileup, he emerged from the crowd ball in hand. With the crowd in a frenzy, Alfred and his teammates celebrated amidst the home team cheers.
Despite all the turnovers they committed, the Seminoles managed to string together a few good drives downfield which resulted in their only score of the night thanks to senior halfback Antone Lenard, with only 46 seconds left in the game.
After such an impressive win, Heritage head football coach Chad Frazier spoke very highly of his team's presence on defense and was happy to come away with another win.
"There were 41 plays in the first half," Frazier said. "I was really impressed by our defense. Our offense made plays when they needed to for an overall team effort."
Clinching the third straight win also earned Heritage the Conyers Cup.
Heritage goes on to face Cedar Shoals for their Homecoming game Friday.