Patriots have huge game at Flowery Branch

CONYERS -- With three minutes to play in last weekend's game against Clarke Central, Heritage trailed 17-0 and was headed toward a damaging loss in Region 8-AAAAA play. But things turned around quickly for the Patriots after that.

Heritage turned to backup quarterback Isaiah Spencer and the senior tossed two second-half touchdowns to Steven Everson, part of 17 unanswered points for the Patriots to force overtime. Spencer's 11-yard scramble on a quarterback draw preceded Myron Fears' four-yard rushing score and the improbable, 23-20 victory was complete.

"As a team we got it done," Heritage coach Chad Frazier said afterward. "We just keep preaching (that) we're going to compete and battle and keep playing until that final whistle blows. (Against Clarke) it was enough to get it done."

Now that Heritage has defeated Clarke for the second consecutive season and improved to 6-1 overall and 4-1 in league play, the Patriots control their own destiny for a top-two seed in the region and a home game for the first round of the Class AAAAA state playoffs.

After suffering its first loss of the season to state-ranked Gainesville three weeks ago, and the dramatic win over Clarke, it doesn't get any easier for the Conyers school. The Patriots make the trip to Hall County on Friday to battle Flowery Branch, a team that under first-year coach Chris Griffin is scoring in bunches. Since starting 0-2 in non-league play, the Falcons have won five consecutive games to start the league slate by averaging more than 42 points and winning by an average margin of more than 23 points.

"They're starting to hit their stride (and) got to go there so that's always tough. They'll have their share of skill kids," Frazier said.

After getting outclassed in Hall County, 31-7 in the team's first-ever meeting in 2010, the Patriots stayed close with the Falcons in last season's 21-13 loss in Conyers.

"I like these games, these are the games I get up for," said Frazier.