Published Saturday, November 17, 2012
By CHRIS GIROUARD
Special to The Newnan Times-Herald
Every win for The Heritage School’s football team is now the biggest win in school history.
The Hawks scored their most recent milestone victory last night with 42-27 triumph at home against Pinewood Academy in the first round of the GISA Class AAA playoffs. The win propels the 10-1 Hawks into next week’s semifinals at home game against Westfield, which barely held off Trinity Christian at home in a 10-7 win.
“We started the season with a scrimmage against (Westfield),” Hawks’ head coach Kevin Prisant said. “Hopefully we won’t be ending the season with them.”
While the game last night was never in doubt after Heritage School scored on its first two possessions, the second of which came after the Hawks recovered an onside kick, they were never quite able to put the Patriots away.
“We just couldn’t put them away,” Prisant said. “This is one of the first times this year we got up and had to keep the accelerator down. “
Thanks to the onside kick recovery, the Hawks led 14-0 after the game’s first two series. Candler Rich opened the scoring with a 28-yard touchdown run. Then, quarterback Joe Bonner capped off an 8-play drive with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Henson.
In all, the Hawks’ powerful senior tandem accounted for three touchdowns each. Rich ran the ball 14 times for 148 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also scored on a 72-yard kickoff return late in the third quarter. Bonner, on the other hand was 5 for 6 passing for 111 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran the ball 8 times for 61 yards and one touchdown.
“Candler is going to have his yards,” Prisant said. “It seems like every time you need a big play he makes it. Joe has been doing a good job running our offense. He has such control over our offense. He knows when he messes up. He comes to us and says, ‘I’ll get it back.’”
(To view photos from this game, visit http://photos.times-herald.com/mycapture/ and click on Sports / Football for the Photo Gallery.)
The Patriots made it 14-7 early in the second quarter when senior running back Ethan Kumpula scored on a 14-yard run. However, this set up the play of the game for the Hawks.
With 2:45 left in the half, Bonner hooked up with Garrett Jones over the middle for a 75-yard touchdown strike. The exciting part of this play was that Jones, as he was running towards the end zone, bobbled the ball three or four times before finally hauling it in and evading defenders for the score.
“He scared me on that,” Bonner said. “He caught the ball, fumbled it a few times and ran for the touchdown. I think everyone in the stands threw up a little.”
It was 21-7 at the half, but the game was far from over at that point as the Patriots continued to fight hard.
“This was very far from perfect,” Prisant said. “At this point we will take it. We knew they would come to fight. They do an incredible job. We knew if we got up they’d continue to fight.”
The Hawks went up 28-7 when Bonner capped a 13 play drive that chewed up 7:12 with a 4-yard scoring run. However, the Patriots came back quickly with a 47-yard pass from quarterback D.J. Johnson to Heath Waters. Not to be outdone, Rich took the ensuing kickoff to the house from 72 yards out making it 35-13.
The Hawks and Rich struck one more time. He capped the scoring with a 32 yard run.
Heritage was able to hold off the Patriots from there and clinch a semifinal berth next week.
“Westfield is well coached,” Bonner said. “They run the same offense as us so we know what is coming at least.”
SCORING SUMMARY – Heritage School 42, Pinewood 27
Pinewood 0 7 6 14 — 27
Heritage School 14 7 14 7 — 42
H — Candler Rich 28 yard run (Ben Dudley kick) 9:57
H — Tyler Henson 8-yard pass from Joe Bonner (Dudley kick) 5:57
P — Ethan Kumpula 14 yard run (Chad Cowart kick) 8:23
H — Garrett Jones 75-yard pass from Bonner (Dudley kick) 2:45
H — Bonner 4 yard run (Dudley kick) 1:58
P — D.J. Johnson 47 yard pass to Heath Waters (kick failed) :57
H — Rich 72 yard kickoff return (Dudley kick) :44
P — Johnson 12 yard run (Johnson pass to Joshua Barnard) 7:15
H — Rich 32 yard run (Dudley kick) 4:11
P — Johnson 42 yard pass to Barnard (conversion failed) 2:16