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Patriots overcome sloppy start
Bringing it in: Salem's Antone Lenard scored two of the Noles' four touchdowns in their Homecoming game Friday night against Rockdale County High School. - photo by William Brawley

Things did not start out well for the Heritage football team as it traveled to Cedar Shoals on Friday night.

But as evidenced by junior varsity team member Obe Fortune’s touchdown run late in the fourth quarter, things turned around as Heritage defeated Cedar Shoals 36-19 to remain unbeaten during the 2011 season.

The Patriots (6-0) received the opening kickoff, which they muffed before falling on the ball on their own 3-yard line. If that wasn’t an auspicious enough start, Heritage then fumbled the ball on the first play of the game. 

The Jaguars (2-3) took advantage of the field position and scored shortly after, going up 6-0 after a failed extra point.

The Patriots handled the second kickoff of the game a little better, but the offensive unit once again had the same troubles. Heritage fumbled the second play of the game as well.

“It started pretty ugly,” Heritage coach Chad Frazier said. 

The defense, however, kept it from getting away early, as they held Cedar Shoals to a field goal, in which the Jaguars missed.

The offense then held on to the ball long enough to march 80 yards down the field, resulting in a Quami Stanley touchdown of 7 yards. After the extra point, Heritage went up 7-6 and wouldn’t trail again.

On the ensuing possession, this time it was Cedar Shoals who turned the ball over, as Chase Alford intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown before halftime.

At halftime, the Patriots’ coaching staff didn’t make many adjustments but told the team they needed to stop turning it over.

“We got in locker room at half time, and didn’t make any adjustments really,” Frazier said. “We ran the ball well blocked well, and did a lot of things better.”

That was evident immediately as the Patriots’ defense held Cedar Shoals on its opening drive. The offense then did the rest, driving down the field, and handing off to Stanley for his second touchdown to give Heritage a 21-6 lead.

The Jaguars were again stopped on the next possession, but as they went for the punt, Heritage blocked it for a safety to go up 23-6.

After the safety Heritage received the ball and drove down the field yet again. This time Myron Fears capped it off for a touchdown run and a 30-6 Heritage lead. Cedar Shoals answered with two big plays on the next drive, one resulting in a touchdown, but by then it was too late.

The Patriots played their younger guys during the fourth quarter in front of several Heritage fans that traveled to the Athens, Ga. school.

“We appreciate all the fans and family who came out to support us,” Frazier said. “And I’m proud of these kids.”

Heritage will go to morning practices during this week’s fall break before traveling to Winder-Barrow on Friday.