CONYERS - On a damp and drizzly Friday night, Heritage used the potent passing combination of junior quarterback Andre Wilson to senior wide receiver Garry Peters to turn back Monroe Area for a 20-7 win at Evans Memorial Stadium.
It was a 55-yard bomb from Wilson to Peters just before halftime that broke the momentum of a visiting Purple Hurricanes team intent on finally breaking an 18-game losing streak. The Region 8-AAAA victory raises the Patriots' season record to 3-6.
The long touchdown pass in the waning seconds of the first half gave Heritage its first lead of the evening after Monroe showed promise during most of the opening half behind the running of quarterback Demontavious Smith.
"This was a good win for us on senior night," Heritage coach Chad Frazier said. "Our seniors did a good job and after that first drive, our defense buckled down."
Monroe Area's Smith led a ball-control offense that moved the ball and owned a 7-3 lead when Heritage faced a third down with only 40 seconds to play in the first half. That's when Peters, seemingly well covered, made a last-second adjustment to catch Wilson's heave and then bulled his way into the end zone
Wilson and Peters connected again late in the third quarter when another third-down throw was perfectly placed between two defenders to a diving Peters for a 17-yard touchdown.
That score effectively dashed Monroe Area's hopes. The Hurricanes were able to move the ball but stalled on their second half efforts.
Asked about the Wilson to Peters connection, Frazier smiled. "They looked awfully good tonight. Both were good throws and good catches."
Heritage's second touchdown of the night was set up by an interception by Ryan Sullivan that set up the Patriots at Monroe Area's 39-yard line.
Wilson converted with clutch runs for first downs on two different fourth-down situations. Faced with a third-and-goal from the 17, Wilson rolled right and fired the precise pass to Peters.
The first half belonged more to Monroe Area as the visitors scored first early in the game when Smith capped a 9-play drive that covered 70 yards with a keeper around left end from a yard out. That put the Hurricanes up by a 7-0 count.
Heritage got on the board early in the second quarter when a drive stalled and reliable junior kicker Tyler Peoples booted a 22-yard field goal to narrow Monroe Area's advantage to 7-3.
The Patriots punctuated their third win of the year when Peoples booted his second field goal of the evening from 29 yards out with only 1:51 remaining to account for the final score.