The No. 1 seed Patriots will move on to the Regional Semifinals in the FHSAA 5A State Tournament after a statement 42-0 win over the No. 8 seed Merritt Island. In a rainy game, the Patriots stellar defense was a force to be reckoned with.
After forcing a quick three-and-out on the opening drive for Merritt Island, the Patriots capitalized on three play drive resulting in a 49-yard rushing touchdown by senior Miles Jones to put the team up 7-0 in under four minutes of play.
Failing to pick up a first down yet again, Merritt Island gave the ball back to the Pats. Senior running back Jordan Johnson punched it in the end zone to make the score 13-0 after a failed extra point attempt.
Another three-and-out for Merritt Island led to a long punt and a deep starting position for the Patriots. An almost 70-yard rushing touchdown by junior running back Tyler Jones made the score 19-0, with another missed PAT.
On the next punt return for Heritage, Miles Jones brought the ball back 31 yards to the opposing 19-yard line. The great field position did no good, as the field goal attempt by senior Jared Elstein was blocked.
Following yet another stationary drive by Merritt Island, a wet ball led to a mishandled snap on the punt, giving Heritage great field positioning yet again. Only a couple plays later, Tyler Jones struck gold again on a 7-yard touchdown rush. Coupled with a successful two-point conversion, the Pats extended their lead to 27-0.
The following drive for the Patriots, Miles Jones found the end zone once more from 13 yards out. A successful two-point try on a pass from senior quarterback Cameron Smith to wide out sophomore Doug Emilien put the Patriots up 35-0.
After a silent third quarter, a final score by sophomore running back Brandon Cohen from three yards out to put the game out of reach with a score of 42-0.
Defense was key in the victory, forcing multiple three-and-outs, while not letting the Merritt Island offense cross midfield once.
The Patriots will now advance to the regional semifinal against Bishop Moore next Friday, Nov. 18.