Patriots battle past Chargers, improve to 4-1

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Junior defensive end Dallas Turner (4) and sophomore defensive end Richard Thomas (5) blitz around the edge towards the Chargers’ quarterback. The defense forced a season-high six turnovers throughout Friday night’s contest. (Photo/Kayla Rubenstein)

The Patriots’ bye week came to a close Friday night when they hosted North Miami Beach and walked away with the 31-8 victory, taking command of the game from the get-go. 

Just two minutes into the first quarter, Heritage jumped out to an early 7-0 lead when freshman running back Mark Fletcher broke through the secondary for the 59 yard score. 

Later in the first quarter, the Patriots came away with their first of six takeaways of the night, intercepting the Chargers to set up the offense at Heritage’s own 3-yard line. A few plays later, though, North Miami Beach forced and recovered a fumble to takeover in the red zone. With under two minutes to go in the first, the Chargers finished the drive with a five yard rushing touchdown and successful two-point conversion attempt to take the 8-7 lead. 

The Patriots responded with 11 minutes in the second quarter after driving down the field to set up junior kicker Chris Maron for the 20 yard field goal to grab the 10-8 lead. 

After two interceptions from the Patriots defense, senior quarterback Edwin Rhodes found junior Vinson Davis over the middle for the 40 yard TD with 1:27 left in the half to give Heritage the 17-8 lead heading into the break. 

Coming into the third quarter, Heritage picked up right where they left off, turning the Chargers over on downs at their own 20 yard line. After multiple defensive stops held each team scoreless throughout the third quarter, senior RB Carlson Joseph ended the drought, punching in the score from the one yard line to extend the lead to 24-8.

Following another interception later in the fourth, Rhodes capitalized on the change-of-possession with a 15 yard rush into the endzone to bring the score to 31-8, putting the final nail in the coffin. 

The win marked Heritage’s third victory in a row and fourth on the season to move the team to 4-1 for the year. 

“I feel like we played a pretty good game overall, [but] we could’ve done a lot better,” senior defensive end KJ Graham said. “There’s some things we need to clean up going into next week, but overall we played pretty well.”

Heritage will head to Fort Lauderdale next week for a rematch of last year’s regional finals matchup when they take on Cardinal Gibbons on Friday, Oct. 4 with kickoff scheduled for 7 pm. 

Sammy Rosenthal is a junior at American Heritage School in Plantation Fla. and is entering his third year writing for the newsmagazine; his first year as the publication’s Sports Editor. Sammy takes pride in being a die-hard Miami Heat and Dolphins fan as well as dedicating his Sunday to watching football.

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