The Patriots defeated the Hallandale Chargers by a score of 38-15 Senior Night, backed by junior quarterback Jason Brown’s three rushing touchdowns, to win the District 5A championships.
The Chargers (7-2), ranked seventh in Fla., could not properly defend the Patriots (8-1) deep, talented run game. Junior running back Kyshaun Bryan added two rushing touchdowns of his own as the Patriots won their seventh consecutive game.
With four minutes remaining in the first quarter, the Chargers kept it close with a three point deficit. However, after the defense recovered its second fumble and Brown ran in his first score of the game late in the second quarter, the flood gates blew wide open.
The team played with a swagger and chemistry that could not have been curbed. Junior linebacker James Houston IV recovered the defense’s third fumble of the game, and Brown scored yet another touchdown to extend the lead to 17 just before the end of the half.
At the end of the third quarter, Heritage led by a score of 31-7 after Bryan scored his second touchdown of the night. In the fourth, Brown completed his touchdown hat trick with a 38-yard run, but Hallandale responded with an impressive touchdown and two-point conversion. After recovering the onside kick, the Patriots iced the game.
This controlling victory for the Patriots gives them an essential boost of momentum before the first round of the playoffs. The offense clicked, and the defense forced four turnovers and only allowed 15 points against a strong Charger offense that scores an average 34 points per game.
The five rushing touchdowns allow the Patriots to use many facets of their offense by keeping the defense on its toes. For a team that does not pass much, play action passes and alternative rushing plays can be deadly.
Senior defensive end Brian Burns led the defense and continued his dominant streak with 3.0 sacks and a batted ball, constantly putting pressure on opposing quarterback Tyler Huntley.
The crowd drew comparisons to the Seattle Seahawks’ twelfth man when senior running back Adam Reed, who stands at 4-foot-5, dodged two tackles with a spin move that looked like it came from a video game, gaining four yards.
Everything about this game signals that the Patriots are one of the frontrunners to win the state championship for a third year in a row, and they begin their road to a repeat with their next game in the first round of the playoffs.