GISA: Heritage School soars to 6-0, win region openerFrom STAFF REPORTS
MACON — Another Friday, another impressive first for The Heritage School’s football team.
A week after opening the 2012 season with five straight wins in school history, the Hawks made it an even half-dozen with a 36-22 victory over Mount de Sales in a game between the school with the largest and smallest enrollments in Class AAA of the GISA.
Heritage School played big in its first meeting against a proud Cavaliers program, needing a 15-point third quarter surge to pull ahead for good after both teams went to halftime tied at 14.
Sophomore Brad Macke, who yielded his starting quarterback duties back to injured senior Joe Bonner, capped off the victory with a fourth-quarter interception on consecutive Mount de Sales turnovers to end the game. The last came when Heritage School senior Tyler Henson recorded his team-high eighth sack of the season and forced a fumble that was recovered by teammate Tyler Nix.
Bonner, meanwhile, led the offense to a pair of third-quarter scores that ended on a 14-yard touchdown run by Candler Rich and his own 5-yard scoring run to go ahead 29-14.
Rich continued a masterful senior season as well. The two-time GISA All-State running back finished with 170 yards rushing on 19 carries and three touchdowns as Heritage School was able to fight back from an early 7-0 deficit with back-to-back scores in the first half.
Down 7-0 after a 65-yard halfback pass from the Cavaliers that caught the Hawks’ defense off guard, Heritage School responded on its next possession for a score while keyed by a 23-yard pass from Bonner to freshman Spencer Perry and a 10-yard run by Nix, a converted lineman who finished with 50-yards rushing on the night.
Rich carried it from the Mount de Sales 3-yard line on third down to pull the Hawks within 7-6.
Heritage’s defense held the Cavaliers to a pair of three-and-outs, stuffing a fake punt attempt on the latter to help set up its next score on a 35-yard pass to Perry. Rich’s two-point run put the Hawks ahed 14-7 with seven minutes left in the first half.
Bonner, who played his first complete game at quarterback this season following a shoulder injury in the preseason, accounted for 121 total yards, 85 through the air in the victory.
Mount de Sales, however, managed to knot the score at 14-14 before halftime on a touchdown run by quarterback Ryan McCallie and nearly took a lead at the break after returning an interception to the Hawks’ 14-yard line in the closing minute of play. But with three seconds left at the Heritage 2-yard line, the Cavaliers fumbled and senior defensive lineman Richard Ebersbach recovered to keep the game tied.
The Hawks chewed up a majority of the third quarter clock with its two go-ahead touchdowns off back-to-back possessions. The first lasted nearly five minutes and Rich highlighted the latter with a 35-yard run to set up 1st-and-goal for Heritage School at the 5-yard line to set up Bonner’s score.
Rich’s two-point conversion pushed a 29-14 lead with two minutes left in the third.
Mount de Sales responded for a final time on a 65-yard scoring drive to pull back with seven points in the opening minutes of the final quarter only to see Rich put the game away with his final touchdown to regain a two-possession advantage.