Patriots football to rely on defense again

In 2011, the Heritage football team had the most successful season in the program's history, thanks to a standout defense.

It's beginning to look a lot like last year on Granade Road. The Patriots, who just began practice, will once again rely on a stout defensive unit, led by three Division I players.

The linebacker position was the strength of the Heritage defense a year ago, and nothing has changed. Chase Alford who was an unanimous first-team all Region 8-AAAA selection a year ago and has an offer from the Air Force Academy, leads the way, while inside linebacker Dustin Moore, a Kent State commitment, is also coming off a first-team all-region season. That duo will be joined by Dominique Packer and Ty Lundy.

"Certainly the strength of our team is our defense and the strength of our defense is our linebackers," said Patriots coach Chad Frazier, who is 29-24 in five seasons, but 17-6 in the last two.

Though Alford gets most of the headlines, Moore and on the offensive line, Michael Raiford, a tackle committed to Navy, are also expected to have big senior seasons.

"(Moore) was a real force in the middle, inside for us, just did a great job. Tremendous work ethic, great character kid. (Raiford) did a great job for us last year," Frazier said.

Heritage, which will compete in Region 8-AAAAA, opens its season Aug. 31 against Coweta County school Northgate at Evans Memorial Stadium.