Friday night lights returned to Heritage field as the Patriots took on the Chaminade-Madonna Lions in the Preseason Kickoff Classic, coming away with the victory by a score of 20-13.
While Heritage’s offense seemed to have trouble finding its rhythm early in the game, the Patriots’ defense came out swinging, blocking the Lions first field goal attempt late in the first quarter. After the Lion’s defense came up with a blocked punt on the ensuing Heritage possession, though, Chaminade-Madonna took over on offense from the Patriots’ own 15 yard line. Despite the strong field position, Heritage’s defense held the Lions to a field goal as Chaminade-Madonna jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the final seconds of the first quarter.
The Lions would lose their only lead of the game a few minutes later after senior QB Edwin Rhodes connected with sophomore WR Jacolby Spells on a post route over the middle to give Heritage a 7-3 lead with eight minutes left in the first half.
The Patriots offense kept the momentum on their side with another dominant offensive drive late in the second quarter. Rhodes continued to march his squad down the field before taking it himself on a QB-keeper score from 15 yards out to give Heritage a commanding 14-3 lead heading into halftime.
The Lions continued to hang around despite facing a two possession deficit to kick off the second half. Chaminade-Madonna turned to the running game to trim the Patriots’ lead to 14-10 midway through the third quarter with a red zone rushing touchdown.
After Spells returned the following kickoff to his team’s own 47 yard line, Rhodes hit senior WR Douglas Emilien in stride on a 40 yard strike to extend Heritage’s lead to 20-10 late in the third. The Lions continued to cut into the Patriot’s lead, though, after knocking down a 24-yard field goal with eight minutes to go in the final quarter of play. On the ensuing Patriot drive, Chaminade-Madonna forced and recovered a fumble to take over on their own 43 yard line trailing 20-13.
Despite the Lions making another strong offensive push down to the Patriots’ 20-yard line, Heritage’s defense came up with another clutch play when sophomore DT Richard Thomas recovered a fumble to give the Patriots’ offense possession with under a minute remaining in regulation. The play would prove to put the nail in the coffin as the Patriots came away with the victory over the Lions 20-13.
The Patriots will host Monsignor Pace in the first game of the regular season at Heritage field next Friday, Aug. 23 at 7:30 pm.
All photos taken by Joanne Haner