One week removed from escaping with a 7-3 victory over the Lions in week one, the Patriots traveled to Clearwater to take on the 1-1 Tornadoes in hopes of extending their win streak to two games.
After only managing seven points in last week’s win, the Patriots found success early in Friday night’s contest, courtesy of a lob from sophomore QB Blake Murphy to senior WR Oronde Gadsden for six in the corner of the end zone with 2:33 to go in the first.
Following an exchange of possessions, sophomore RB Mark Fletcher extended the Patriots’ lead to 14-0 after picking apart the Tornadoes’ defense en route to his 60-yard touchdown run with 10:58 remaining in the half.
Midway through the second, Heritage continued to establish the run game, pushing their advantage to 21-0 on a short 4th down gamble that resulted in a breakaway 42-yard touchdown run by sophomore RB Reggie Foster. The score would remain unchanged heading into the break.
A defensive battle in the third kept both teams at bay, but the Patriots found themselves in scoring position once again in the opening stages of the fourth quarter. Clearwater managed to hold the Patriots to a 4th down, forcing Heritage to settle for a successful 48-yard field goal attempt from senior kicker Chris Maron to push the lead to 24-0.
The Patriot defense would then close out the contest, forcing two of their four total takeaways in the final 10 minutes of action.
“I’d say the key to holding Clearwater scoreless was keeping our composure,” sophomore linebacker David Vadala said. “We have a great group of guys on defense, and when we play our game consistently and composed, we’ll get the same results. We have a tough schedule ahead of us and we have to keep coming in everyday, putting our work in and trusting the process.”
The victory moves Heritage to 2-0 on the young season as they prepare for their clash with the Bartram Trail Bears (3-0) next Friday, Oct. 2 with kickoff set for 7 p.m.