Conyers The Heritage football team handled its first state ranking in recent memory just fine. Four different players scored first half touchdowns and the defense put together another solid performance as the Class AAAA No. 10 Patriots had no trouble moving to 3-0 with a 35-14 win over Loganville. The 2011 team is the first Heritage squad to start 3-0 since the 2001 team won their first three games before finishing 0-7.
“That’s changing this year,” Heritage coach Chad Frazier said when informed of the 2001 team’s collapse. “I just like the way our kids are playing. They were focused this week. It was a big win, but we still have areas we need to improve on.”
Heritage jumped out to a three-touchdown lead after one half, thanks in large part to Loganville miscues. After the Patriots went three-and-out on the first possession of the game, Ramon Rodriguez’s punt was fumbled by Mitchell Webb and Dustyn Moore recovered at the Red Devils’ 32. It took three plays-one a 25-yard run by Quami Stanley-which set up Hakeem Lewis’ seven-yard touchdown to put the Patriots up 7-0.
The Red Devils continued to have problems hanging onto the ball and it cost the Walton County school again. After Heritage drove 70 yards in just eight plays and took a 14-0 lead on Ryan Sutton’s fourth down pass of 30 yards to Dominic Craft, Chris Elder never had control of the ensuing kick off and Ty Lundy pounced on the loose ball. That gave the Patriots the ball on the 15-yard line, and after a 15-yard run by Lewis set up a first-and-goal, Quami Stanley punched it in from two yards for a 21-0 cushion.
“Turnovers, we were plagued by that the last two years,” Frazier said. “Fortunately, we were the beneficiary of that (Friday). I thought the kids played good, clean, hard football, and disciplined. The maturity of this team-that’s the mark of a good program.”
Loganville (1-1) used a Heritage kick off that landed out of bounds to answer immediately, taking just two plays to get on the scoreboard at 21-7. Juwann Saffold’s 19-yard run was followed by a 44-yard touchdown scamper from Bernard Merriweather.
That didn’t seem to faze Heritage, which got a nice kick off return from Craft, then took three plays to get the seven points back. The left-handed Sutton threw a perfect pass to a streaking Steven Everson, who handled it the rest of the way for a 47-yard touchdown and a 28-7 lead just before halftime.
After a scoreless third quarter, Heritage scored on the fourth offensive play of the fourth as Lewis barreled through a wood-be-tackler and raced for a 26-yard touchdown and a comfortable, 35-7 lead.
Loganville made it 35-14 by capping a 12-play, 81-yard drive with Juwann Saffold’s one-yard touchdown run with 3:00 to play in the game.