High School Football

First game-week takes emotional toll on Heritage

by Doug Gorman


D.J. Clay, Heritage School’s former defensive coordinator, led the Hawks from the sidelines for the first time since being named interim head coach last Monday. 

When The Heritage School’s football players gathered around interim head coach D.J. Clay Friday night after the team’s gut-wrenching 13-12 loss in the season opener to Flint River Academy, a week’s worth of pent up emotion began pouring out of both the players and staff.

The Hawks had just fallen short by inches of snatching a victory away from Flint River when their 2-point conversion was stopped short of the goal line.

An emotionally draining week had visibly taken its toll.

Clay, who spent three years as defensive coordinator, put together a game-plan that could have easily resulted in a win, even after losing starting quarterback Brad Macke in the first five minutes of the season to a shoulder injury that will likely keep him out of this Friday’s game against John Milledge.

Junior Peyton Henson drove the Hawks to both of its scoring drives, the last with under 30 seconds remaining to pull within an extra point. Clay put his trust in his team on a 2-point attempt that was stopped short. “I think the guys really responded well to everything that happened this week, Clay said. “We put in some new plays on offense and they did a good job of picking things up in a short period of time.”

The Hawks used six running backs in hopes of staying fresh on a 90-degree night. Matt Burns had a 17-yard gain and Parker Jones had 11-yard carry early in the game for two of the most productive plays of the night.

Henson also connected on two big passes to Chaz Bankston, including a 5-yard completion for the first touchdown.

The duo also came up big on the final scoring drive of the game when Henson hit Bankston on a long third down-pass completion down to the goal line to set up Hamp Smith’s touchdown.

Defensively, the Hawks also turned in some big plays getting a huge sack from Tristan Stoffle. Bankston also made some key tackles and Cole Jones blocked an extra point.

The non-region schedule doesn’t get any easier for Heritage. John Milledge opened with a 26-6 victory over Trinity Christian of Dublin. The Trojans finished 11-2 last year in Class AA while reaching the state semifinals.

CENTRAL OFF AND RUNNING: Two games into the new season, Central Christian doesn’t resemble a program that had a tough time putting victories together as well as points on the scoreboard in 8-man play.

The Crusaders put together their second straight 50-point performance on Friday while dominating Ezekiel Academy.

A 54-7 rout in a game played at East Coweta Middle School also saw Central open its ACSC East Region schedule with a victory, with the Crusaders running through each of its first two opponents.

Despite yet to record a passing yard, Central has put together 809 yards on 70 carries, averaging 11.6 yards per attempt. Juniors Jared Farlow and Bailey Todd have led the way.

At quarterback, Farlow had 339 yards on 22 attempts to go with seven touchdowns in two games. Todd has added 206 on 24 carries with two touchdowns.

The Crusaders also thrived on Friday despite losing senior Charlie Lee to an ankle injury. Lee had 189 yards and four touchdowns in a season opening victory over Freedom Academy.

Defensively, senior Christian Parkerson and junior Wyatt Martinez have dominated, leading the team with 28 and 27 tackles, respectively over two games. The Crusaders have recorded 13 tackles for loss.

Central faces LightHouse Homeschool out of Oneonta, Ala., this Friday before gearing up for a showdown with region frontrunner Hope Christian in its first road trip of the 2014 season.

TERRELL’S TODD TAMES TRINITY: A Trinity Christian defense that was looking to replenish 10 starters lost from last season, had its hands full with Terrell Academy quarterback Dalton Todd. The senior threw for 138 yards on 11 of 18 passing and three touchdowns and also an for 126 yards on 18 carries and another score.

Trinity travels to Flint River on Friday. The Lions defeated the Wildcats 23-15 at home last season, but have struggled in two trips to Woodbury in 2011 and 2012 while outscored 48-15.

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