WINDER - Winder-Barrow quarterback Christian Davila had been trying all game to connect with his top receiver, Trent Demeritte, on a big play. With the seconds ticking down on the third quarter clock, the duo finally found each other.
Davila threw a perfect pass to Demeritte and the wideout did the rest on a 92-yard touchdown that accounted for the only points in Winder's 7-0 victory at W. Clair Harris Stadium.
"(Demeritte is) fast. He can play for anybody," Heritage coach Chad Frazier said.
Demeritte's long touchdown came after Heritage kicker SaHoon Lyons had his 42-yard field goal blocked. It proved to be one of the Patriots' lone scoring chances in a game filled with penalties - the visitors totaled 12 miscues for 79 yards.
"We just shot ourselves in the foot," Frazier said. "We just got ourselves in holes we couldn't dig out of."
Neither team could get much going in a scoreless first half. Heritage's turnover problems continued immediately, though it didn't hurt the Patriots on the scoreboard. Devon Holmes fumbled an option pitch from quarterback Andre Wilson on the game's first play and Winder's Jake Foster recovered. The hosts had a chance to get deep into Heritage territory on the ensuing drive, but two of quarterback Christian Davila's passes were dropped.
The Patriots couldn't take advantage of Joey Liston's 42-yard punt return late in the first quarter. Two of their seven first-half penalties - an offensive hold and a false star - along with Jacob Dufresne's sack of Wilson forced Heritage to punt.
Early in the second quarter, Eian Williams' 22-yard run put Heritage at the Winder-Barrow 33-yard line, but on third-and-nine, Wilson was sacked by Kendrick Davis and followed with an incompletion to stall a more than six-minute drive. Heritage had another chance late in the half when Davila's desperation toss into double coverage was intercepted by Chris Polascik, but the Patriots couldn't capitalize.
The teams combined for just 126 total yards in the first half.
None of Winder-Barrow's seven possessions in the second half lasted longer than two minutes as the Heritage defense forced three punts before and three punts after Demeritte's touchdown.
"Our defense played really well," Frazier said. "(We) played well in the secondary. Our linebackers did a good job stopping the run. They played well enough for us to win."
Heritage, which could only muster 81 total yards in the second half, had one, final chance with 2:20 to play. Wilson scurried 17 yards on third-and-one to set up a first down at the Winder 17-yard line, but Wilson misfired on two passes to the end zone, including a fade route to Garry Peters in triple coverage that was intercepted by Jonathon Hall. Peters, who was nursing a hurt ankle, didn't play until the final series.
"He had a bum ankle. He said, 'Coach I can go, I can go,'" Frazier said.