CONYERS - As the saying goes, defense wins ball games.
Friday proved no different as Loganville ousted Heritage 26-7 at Evans Memorial Stadium.
"They physically whipped our tails," Heritage coach Chad Frazier said. "They wanted it more than we did. We started off strong, and then after that momentum got on their side and they kept it. They were just physically better than us tonight."
The Red Devils (4-1) capitalized on four turnovers and limited the Patriots to just 37 yards in the second half en route to their third straight win of the season.
After a quick Loganville four-and-out, Heritage wasted no time on its opening possession. It took just six plays before the Patriots scored on a 13-yard quarterback keeper by Andre Wilson.
The PAT by Tyler Peoples gave Heritage a 7-0 lead with 7:17 left in the first quarter.
"I was concerned (after falling behind early)," Loganville coach Eric Godfree said. "But we were concerned coming into the game because Heritage is a very good football team."
Just 20 seconds into the second quarter, Loganville scored on a fake reverse 63-yard touchdown pass from A.J. Schmidt to Clay Garner.
After a missed PAT, Heritage led 7-6 at the 11:40 mark.
"Well, they put nine in the box so we had to throw the ball a good bit and ended up doing well," Godfree said. "Our quarterback did a great job, the line did a good job protecting (and) the receivers did a good job running routes."
Loganville got the ball right back after Tony Wyyet recovered a Heritage fumble on the ensuing kickoff. Eight plays later, the Red Devils took the lead after a 3-yard touchdown run by Schmidt.
Heritage's Travis Martin intercepted Schmidt's pass during a failed 2-point conversion attempt, keeping the score 12-7 with 6:46 remaining.
During a 12-play Heritage drive, the opposing defense stepped up and caused Abraham Walker to fumble at the Loganville 16-yard line. It was recovered by Nick White, who raced all the way to the Heritage 4-yard line.
Schmidt then found Josh Greene for a 5-yard touchdown pass with 52 seconds left until halftime.
After the PAT by Tyler Zielinski, the Red Devils led 19-7 entering the break.
In the second half, the Loganville defense picked up right where it left off.
During Heritage's first play of the third quarter, Chandler Smith recovered a fumble for Loganville after a solid 14-yard gain by quarterback Garry Peters.
The turnover led to a 12-play drive resulting in a 6-yard touchdown pass from Schmidt to Sam Jones.
After the PAT, the Patriots were down 26-7 with 6:28 remaining in the third quarter.
Despite a 55-yard kickoff return by Martell Jones, the Patriots immediately turned it over again, this time an interception by Smith.
Overall, Loganville limited Heritage to just four offensive plays in the third quarter for minus-10 yards.
The fourth quarter was more of the same, as the Loganville defense grew stronger while the Heritage offense grew weaker. Despite a turnover by the Red Devils - a fumble recovered by Melvin Jones - the Patriots managed 26 yards of offense in the final quarter.
"We're going to need some help as far as playoffs go," Frazier said. "I still think this region is topsy-turvy and it's going to go down to the end. The only thing we can do is get healthy for one and then worry about our next game against Madison.
"Our kicking game was pretty good," he added. "Other than that we got a lot of issues we've got to work on."
Jason Murdock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.