Two teams on different paths met Friday night at Red Devil Stadium in Loganville, but it was the Heritage Patriots that came away with a 21-7 victory over Loganville to keep its playoff dreams alive.
The Red Devils brought their bag of tricks, but it was the Patriots who treated themselves to their fourth region win of the season, moving above .500 in region play while taking command of the league’s No. 4 playoff spot.
Loganville had won its last three contests after starting 1-3, while the Patriots were in the process of a two-game losing skid, but Heritage played almost flawless football to earn their fifth win of the season.
Heritage outgained the Red Devils 417 to 262, while the Patriots’ defense limited Loganville to 15 yards rushing in the first half and four total lost fumbles in the contest.
Heritage coach Mike Parris said the win was one that can keep the Patriots on-track to reaching the postseason.
“It feels great to get this win,” Parris said. “Everything tonight goes to our kids. They have practiced well and they had a great week. They did everything possible to win. I am very, very proud of them.”
Heritage stalled on its opening drive of the game, but the Patriots found their groove on their second possession, moving the ball 81 yards on the drive for the game’s first score.
Heritage quarterback Ryan Sutton connected with receivers Anthony Stanley and Obi Fortune on the drive, and a Loganville pass interference penalty set the Patriots up inside Red Devils territory.
Stanley used an 18-yard run to set the ball up at the Loganville 1-yard line, and Sutton punched it in two plays later for the Patriots’ first score. Heritage kicker Austin Kulp added the extra-point, giving Heritage a 7-0 lead with 1:17 to go in the first half.
Heritage forced a Loganville fumbled on the Red Devils’ first play of their next possession, but was unable to turn the turnover into points before the half closed after Kulp missed a 33-yard field goal that just went wide left of the crossbar.
Heritage closed its scoring with a six-minute drive near the end of the second half, marching 93 yards on its second touchdown drive to extend its lead to 14-0.
Sutton orchestrated the Patriots’ offense with a 4-for-5 passing mark on the drive for 59 yards, hitting Stanley for the sophomore’s first score of the game. Sutton evaded a pair of tackles and scrambled out of the pocket to the right sideline, finding Stanley wide open after the receiver broke from his route and found a pocket of open space.
The touchdown gave Heritage a two-score lead with 2:59 to go in the half, but the Red Devils used a little trickery on their next possession to cut the Patriots’ lead in half. Loganville quarterback Royce Harrison hit wide receiver Josh Owen on a short route down the left sideline. Owen looked stop for a minimal gain, but he lateraled the ball back to Darryl Giles, who took the pass 80 yards for the touchdown. Loganville converted the extra-point, heading into the half down 14-7.
Heritage scored the second half’s lone touchdown on their opening possession of the third quarter, needing just six plays to reach the end zone. The Patriots strictly ran a Wildcat formation during the drive, directly snapping the ball to Stanley. Stanley ran five times on the drive for 54 yards, icing the drive with a 9-yard touchdown run up the middle of the Red Devils’ defense.
Stanley’s score extended Heritage’s lead to 21-7 with 6:52 to go in the third period.
Loganville tried to answer the Patriots’ offense twice, pushing the Patriots’ defense back with long, sustained drives. Both drives, however, ended in Red Devils fumbles, the first in the third quarter caused by Deron Nance, and the second in the fourth quarter recovered by Keundre Rias on the Red Devils’ final drive of the game.
“Loganville made a couple of big plays, but other than that, our defense stopped them,” Parris said. “They played excellent tonight.”
Anthony finished with 147 rushing yards on 12 carries with a touchdown, while Sutton finished the night with 172 yards through the air on 11-of-20 passing with a touchdown.
Harrison ended his night for the Red Devils with 193 passing yards on 11-of-20 passing.
“We’ve been trying to get better each week,” Parris said. “That’s the biggest thing. Continue to get better.”