High School Football

Heritage ready to shake off tough loss to Dominion

by Chris Goltermann

Losses typically manifest more questions than answers in high school football, at least heading into the following week of practice.

Not at The Heritage School, at least in the four days leading up to tonight’s home opener against Community Christian.

“This was, by far, our best week of practice,” said Hawks head coach Kevin Prisant, whose team was coming of a tough 33-26 loss at Dominion Christian where little went Heritage’s way over the final two minutes after storming back from a 19-0 deficit. “We still made mistakes, but the thing about last week was we never stopped fighting. They believed they were going to win the game. That’s what I’ve been looking for. We’ve gotten a lot done this week, but the guys have been having fun.”

A week after the majority of Coweta County’s varsity’s football teams came up empty handed on the road, outside of a victory by 43-22 Trinity Christian over Community, all but the Lions will be back home looking to get back on winning tracks.

It also expects to be an emotional night around the county, especially at East Coweta, with “Grey-outs” planned for games at Garland Shoemake Stadium as well as home games at Newnan and Northgate to honor ECHS junior cheerleader Madeline McTier.

McTier passed away on Tuesday following an 18-month battle against brain cancer. Grey ribbons symbolize brain cancer awareness.

The Indians enter tonight as underdogs against a Sandy Creek team that exploded for 55 points in a home win last week over Newnan, which scored four times against the Patriots, but couldn’t pull closer than three touchdowns after halftime. East Coweta is coming off an equally bitter loss at Archer, falling 21-17 when a potential game-tying field goal for the Tigers turned into a game-winning touchdown off a botched snap.

Newnan (1-2) also returns home tonight against Troup (1-1) at Drake Stadium, while Northgate is back at Henry Seldon Field against North Clayton. The Vikings and Eagles are both searching for their first victories at 0-2 with offenses that have only managed seven points over two games.

Trinity Christian and The Heritage School, meanwhile, swap opponents tonight. While the Hawks host Community Christian, Trinity looks to slow down a Dominion Christian lineup that is off to a 3-0 start after scoring a game-winning touchdown against Heritage on its final drive. It started after the Hawks were forced to punt on a drive that began off a penalty following safety Brad Macke’s interception return to near midfield.

“It was tough. If we make an extra point that would have put us ahead [27-26] we’re leading in that situation,” Prisant said. “Your play calling is a lot different when you’re ahead. But the guys hung in there. The feeling we had afterward wasn’t like the Flint River game.”

Building on that momentum tonight against Community Christian means tackling a sizable challenge from the Knights, whose lineup includes senior defensive tackle Kenneth Cousins (6-0, 290) and offensive linemen Nate Jones (5-11, 290) and Sebastian Lewis (6-4, 310).

“They’ll be the biggest team we’ve seen so far,” Prisant said. “They’re fairly new to GISA, but they’re well coached. You can tell they have a grasp of what they want to be as a program.”

In addition to its size, Community — located in Stockbridge — picked up a pair of touchdowns against Trinity on kickoff returns, a trend that wasn’t lost on Prisant, who successfully called an onside kick against Dominion that was recovered by Kirby Arnall last week.

“I’m not a guy who likes to kick it deep anyway because that’s where most teams have their fastest players,” he said.

Knights junior quarterback Mac McDonald leads an offense that likes to set up in the shotgun, but has shown balance.

“They’re not one of those teams that’s going to sling it all over the place,” Prisant said.

A Heritage lineup that returned just four seniors and lost one of them to injury during its season-opening loss to Flint River, received a boost from Dalton Trammell on both sides of the ball.

Making a rare appearance on offense, Trammell carried three consecutive times on a short touchdown drive that tied the game at 26.

Trammell also enters tonight needing eight tackles to overtake former teammate Tyler Nix for Heritage’s career leader among tacklers.

Meanwhile, a chance to finally return home following last year’s state championship game, a preseason scrimmage in Sparta and back-to-back road games to start the 2013 season, is as much a welcome sight tonight for the Hawks.

“We’ll be here for about a month,” Prisant said of three consecutive home dates. “It’s always nice to play in front of your home crowd. I’m excited to see how things carry over from last week. It’s been a real good week for us so far.”

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