Published Saturday, September 29, 2012
From Staff Reports
AMERICUS — It took nearly two months of waiting, but The Heritage School made sure the third meeting between the Hawks and Southland Academy this year went in their favor.
More importantly, this one counted in more ways than one.
After scrimmaging twice during the preseason to different end results at camp, Heritage School took advantage of the third chance to face the Raiders. The Hawks looked the part of an AAA school in their debut in the GISA’s highest classification leading from start to finish in a 48-21 victory to close their non-region schedule.
The win also pushed Heritage School to a school-record 5-0 start a year after being denied a fifth consecutive victory to open the season a year ago. This time, however, senior All-State running back Candler Rich and company weren’t going to be denied while handing Southland its first loss of the season.
Rich led the way with 300 yards of offense, 220 on the ground to go with three touchdowns as Heritage School built a 35-21 halftime lead. On defense, the Hawks’ starting safety added his fifth interception of the year and recovered another Southland turnover on a fumble.
Sophomore quarterback Brad Macke continued to shine as well for Heritage School, throwing for two scores and running in another in the victory.
“It was a real physical game and we knew it would be. I thought we handled that first shot in the mouth from them pretty well,” said Heritage School’s Kevin Prisant, who has led the Hawks to a 13-3 record in his first 16 games as a head coach. “I think it definitely gives us a shot of confidence. This is the first big test. We keep improving each week.”
The Hawks (5-0) now get a week to rest up for their Region 2-AAA opener on Oct. 12 at 1-4 Mount de Sales.
On Friday, host Southland (5-1) closed within a 14-6 deficit, but never got closer following Rich’s 27-yard touchdown and ensuing 2-point run early in the second quarter.
Southland’s Dustin Shattles scored two touchdowns in the first half to keep the Raiders close, including a 98-yard kickoff return that got Southland within 28-14.
Following defensive stops by Trevor Henson and a fourth-down pass deflection by Harrison Holland, Heritage School closed the first half with another score from Rich, this time on a SportsCenter-worthy 60-yard run where he broke multiple tackles to give the Hawks a 28-6 lead.
The Hawks defense opened and closed the game with fumble recoveries, capped off by one from Trevor Sawyers’ at the goal line late in the fourth quarter as Heritage School held Southland scoreless in the second half.
Expecting a physical game, Prisant moved speedy guard Tyler Nix to fullback due to injuries and the senior helped pave the way for Heritage School runners on Friday. Patrick McKee had several long runs, including a pair that lead to Rich’s first touchdown run. McKee later capped off the scoring with a 12-yard touchdown run with seven minutes to go for a 42-21 lead.
Meanwhile, Macke — who began the year as a backup — led Heritage School's offense to a fifth-straight win and was involved in both of his team’s first two touchdowns. He finished with well over 100 yards passing that included 80 to Rich by halftime.
Macke and Rich connected on a 38-yard touchdown with 1:19 left in the first half to give Heritage School a 14-point halftime lead.
Macke was sharp from the opening kickoff.
After recovering Southland’s first fumble at the Raiders 26, Macke capped off an opening Hawks drive with a four-yard touchdown run. The ensuing possession, after forcing a Southland punt, then netted a perfectly thrown 9-yard touchdown pass to Spencer Perry in the corner of the end zone to push a 14-0 lead with 3:30 still left in the first quarter.
“That was a special throw right there,” said Prisant, who chose to hold senior starter Joe Bonner to defensive duties only. “He hasn’t done anything to hurt us all year. At one point I turned to Joe and said, ‘I’m going to stick to the hot hand right now and he said, ‘That’s ok, coach. I want to win.’”
SCORING SUMMARY – Heritage School 48, Southland Academy 21
Heritage School 14 21 0 14 — 48
Southland 6 15 0 0 — 21
HS — Brad Macke 4-yard (Ben Dudley kick)
HS — Spencer Perry 9-yard pass from Brad Macke (Dudley kick)
S — Dustin Shattles 22 run (kick failed)
HS — Candler Rich 27 run (Rich run)
S — Shattles 98-yard kickoff return (Shattles run)
HS — Rich 60 run (kick failed)
S — Hunter Weldon touchdown (kick good)
HS — Macke 38-yard pass to Rich (Dudley kick)
HS — Patrick McKee 12 run (Dudley kick)
HS – Rich TD (Dudley kick)