There may have not been a horror movie playing at Evans Stadium last night, but the Heritage Patriots walked away with a frightening victory on Friday the 13th after topping Salem 17-12.
Heritage used a pair of second-half touchdowns to outlast the Seminoles in both teams' first region game of the year.
Ryan Sutton threw just two incompletions in the second half, while running backs Christian Reid and C.J. Stone scored twice on the ground and combined for 111 rushing yards.
The Seminoles were able to turn the Patriots over twice in the first half, but were unable to muster the same defensive intensity that saw them carry a 6-3 lead into halftime.
Heritage head coach Mike Parris said that the team's improved second-half play led the Patriots to the rivalry win.
"We played a better second half," Heritage coach Mike Parris said. "We did a much better job in the second half. We had one big, critical 90-yard drive and that was big for us. Mentally, we needed that. I'm proud of them.
"We were fortunate to come out with a win," he said. "That was a good Salem football team."
Down 6-3 to start the third quarter, Heritage used a 6-play, 41-yard opening drive to regain the lead.
After a slow moving start to the drive, Salem was called for a personal foul that set Heritage up at the Seminoles' 14-yard line.
Reid scored two plays later on an 11-yard run to the left sideline and an Austin Kulp extra point put the Patriots ahead 10-6 with 9:24 left in the third quarter.
Heritage added its second touchdown of the night with 1:38left in the game, scoring on a 1-yard touchdown run from Stone to take a commanding 17-6 advantage.
Salem added a late score with 48 seconds left in the game on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Licash Lackey to Quintavious Byrd, but Heritage's early damage was too much for the Seminoles to overcome, falling 17-12.
While Sutton failed to throw a touchdown pass in the game, he completed 6-of-8 passes in the second half and did not turn the ball over.
"Ryan is a leader and we put it on his plate," Parris said. "He settled down and relaxed and played his game."
Salem carried a 6-3 lead into halftime behind the arm of Lackey. Lackey hit wideout Kanome MacIntosh for a 29-yard touchdown in the second quarter to give Salem the early advantage. Lackey also rushed for 68 yards in the first half.
Salem head coach Jon Starr said his team was close tonight, but that the Patriots made just a few more plays that made the difference.
"Our kids played hard," Salem coach John Starr said. "We knew going in that Heritage and Salem was going to be a slugfest. It's not an easy game. We had to withstand and last. Unfortunately for us, we didn't."
Lackey finished the night 15-of-30 for 134 yard with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also added 117 yards on the ground.
Sutton finished 8-of-16 for 51 yards and an interception, while Reid ran for 84 yards on the ground and a score. Stone carried the ball seven times for 27 yards and a score.
The victory extends the Patriots' win streak over the Seminoles to four games since last losing to Salem in 2009.
Heritage returns to action next Friday on the road at Cedar Shoals, while the Seminoles travel to Winder-Barrow for a 7:30 p.m. contest.