CONYERS - If the Heritage Patriots were hungry for a win entering Friday's game against Winder-Barrow, they left satisfied.
The Patriots (2-2) dominated nearly every aspect of the game, topping the Bulldoggs 51-13 at Evans Memorial Stadium and proving their record is somewhat misleading.
"It's big considering the two losses we've had over the last couple of weeks," Heritage coach Chad Frazier said of the win. "I was real proud of our guys and how hard they played. It helps us get a little more confidence back and hopefully sets things back to where we want to be."
Overall, the Patriots had 305 total offensive yards compared to just 36 for Winder-Barrow. And despite turning the ball over three times in the first half, Heritage took advantage of five turnovers by the Bulldoggs to build a 30-0 halftime lead.
The Bulldogs (0-3) were limited to minus-39 total yards in the first half, and they only had seven plays that yielded a gain.
During Winder's opening possession, running back Kendrick Davis fumbled to Heritage's Justin Jones. Four plays later the Patriots scored on a 1-yard touchdown run by Reggie Juin.
The PAT by Grant Kelly gave the Patriots a 7-0 lead with eight minutes and 58 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Several possessions later, Heritage recovered another fumble at the Winder 24-yard line. Two plays later, it was Khairi Nash with a 13-yard touchdown dash, pushing the lead to 14-0.
The score remained the same until 1:33 into the second quarter, when Martell Jones returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown.
Heritage's Devon Holmes added another score just 12 seconds later after Justin Jones recovered his second fumble of the game. Holmes scampered into the end zone on a 9-yard run for a 28-0 lead with 10:15 left until halftime.
After trading possessions, Winder-Barrow quarterback Christian Davila lost the ball in the end zone, resulting in a safety for Heritage and another two points with 4:38 left in the half. It marked the third straight game that the Heritage defense has recorded a safety.
A combined three turnovers by both teams kept the score 30-0 entering the locker rooms.
"We're still turning the ball over and we're still committing penalties that are just foolish," Frazier said. "And against good teams, it's going to hurt us."
But Heritage opened the third quarter with a 10-play scoring drive, resulting in another 1-yard touchdown run by Juin.
The Bulldoggs added their first points of the game at the 4:29 mark. After recovering a fumble on a punt return by Juin, Davila found Chris Wragg for a 12-yard touchdown pass, cutting the Heritage lead to 37-6 with 4:29 left in the third.
But the Patriots were hungry for more.
On the ensuing kickoff, Zane Barefield put Heritage in prime scoring position with a 62-yard return. It resulted in yet another 1-yard touchdown run, this time by Nash, for a 44-6 lead with 3:41 remaining.
Heritage added its final score of the game after a 44-yard touchdown burst by Holmes.
Winder scored its final points of the game after a 3-yard touchdown by Davis with 2:32 left in the fourth quarter.
"Well, right now everybody's excited and that's good," Frazier said. "We want to celebrate this win and then Sunday get to work on Clarke Central. Hopefully, what (this) does for us is carry some momentum, a lot of confidence and gets us a little more prepared and a little more excited going into next week."
Jason Murdock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.