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Heritage football looking to build off great season

IF YOU GO

• Who: Northgate Vikings (0-0) at Heritage Patriots (0-0)

• When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

• Where: Evans Memorial Stadium, Conyers

• Series: First meeting

CONYERS -- Heritage High School is coming off the most successful football season in 37 years as the 2011 team won a school-record 10 games and a first-ever region championship. Now comes the difficult part: repeating, or, perhaps besting the feat.

That's the challenge ahead of the Patriots and their sixth-year head coach Chad Frazier as Northgate arrives Friday for the season opener. Though the Patriots move up to Region 8-AAAAA after the GHSA's realignment, the expectations remain: keep building on a two-year stretch that has seen the Patriots go 17-6 the past two seasons including consecutive state playoff berths for the first time in school history.

"The expectations get higher and higher with each season," said Frazier, who is 29-24 since arriving at the Conyers school in 2007. "We have improved every year the last few years and this season is no different. We would love to build off last years historical season and we feel confident that we can repeat as region champions and possibly make a deeper run in the state playoffs."

Frazier's team gets things started with Northgate, a team that, like Heritage, won a region title and reached the second round of the state playoffs a year ago. The Coweta County school also won 11 games for just the second time in the 15-year history of the program. Friday's game should be all about defense as Heritage comes off a season where it allowed less than 17 points per game, while Northgate surrendered 13 points or less seven times.

"They have seven players returning on one of the states best defenses in (Class) AAAA last year," Frazier said of Northgate. "They have three Division 1 players on defense. They have an extremely well-coached ball club and they will not make many mistakes."