Pats have no room for error
For playoff run, Heritage can't afford another loss

CONYERS - Heritage football coach Chad Frazier has a specific goal in mind for the final four weeks of the 2008 season.

The Patriots (2-4), coming off a bye week, start the homestretch of the season Friday night against Madison County (2-5) in Danielsville.

"I'd like to finish what we started and be 4-0," Frazier said. "Our season started really good, and then we've had a number of close games that we let get away. We have had to overcome a tremendous amount of adversity that not many people outside of our program ever get to see. People will remember this season by how we finish."

Even with seven teams in front of Heritage in the region standings, Frazier is not giving up on one of the Patriots' goals this season - the state playoffs.

"We must win out and have some help to make the playoffs," Frazier said. "Our goal at the beginning of the season was to be in the playoffs, and I believe we still can (make it). We need to take care of business in Madison County, or the playoffs will not be an issue."

Madison County is in the same boat as Heritage at this point of the season. The Red Raiders, coached by former Heritage boss Randell Owens, have lost four straight games after starting the season 2-1.

With five losses, Madison County is probably too far behind to make enough ground in the playoff race, but Frazier knows the Red Raiders will be a dangerous team.

"Madison has shown a variety of looks throughout the season on both sides of the ball," Frazier said. "They are capable of coming out and running an offense or a defense they've not shown yet," Frazier said. "Defensively, they'll base out of a 4-3 and offensively it's going to be a Wing-T, Pro-I and their version of the spread. They also have a good many trick plays they like to use on offense as well as special teams."

If the Patriots are to get on a roll the final four weeks of the season, they must play mistake-free football. Heritage turned the ball over four times in a 26-7 loss to Loganville in its last game.

"We have to play sound fundamental football. I know it sounds repetitive, but, if we protect the football and not give up anything too easy, we should be fine. We've done much better minimizing penalties, we just have eliminate the turnovers."

With a week off, Frazier feels his squad should be ready for the final four weeks of the regular season.

"The week off gave us a chance to get our legs fresh and get back to some fundamentals," he said. "Overall, we're in good health. We've got a couple minor bumps but nothing major."

Jeff Gillespie can be reached at jeff.gillespie@rockdalecitizen.com.

SideBar: Heritage at Madison

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Red Raider Stadium, Danielsville

Series: Heritage leads 2-0

Last meeting: Heritage won 28-22 at Danielsville in 2005