The Patriots came away with their third win of the year following their 31-17 victory over Trinity Christian Friday night in Jacksonville.
Heritage’s offense picked up right where they left off from last week’s victory over Miramar, firing on all cylinders to start the game. The Patriots marched the ball down the field on their first drive of the game, setting up junior kicker Chris Maron for the successful 29-yard field goal to give Heritage the 3-0 lead.
On the ensuing offensive possession, senior wide receiver Douglas Emilien found the endzone on a five-yard bullet from senior quarterback Edwin Rhodes to extend the Patriot’s lead to 10-0 late in the first quarter.
After senior cornerback Davonte Brown came away with the interception early in the second, Heritage’s offense set up shop around Trinity Christian’s own 28-yard line. The Patriots would capitalize on the turnover moments later when Rhodes hit sophomore wide receiver Jacolby Spells in the back of the endzone from 14 yards out to push the lead to 17-0.
Heritage would soon force Trinity Christian into their second turnover of the night when junior defensive back Boogsie Silvera scooped up a loose fumble later in the second quarter. On the next drive with a 10-yard pass over the middle, Rhodes once again connected with Emilien, who broke three tackles on his way for the 39-yard score to give Heritage the 24-0 lead.
Trinity Christian found their rhythm, though, late in the first half, after they drove in for their first touchdown of the day. The team’s defense also began to hit their stride before heading into the break, preventing the Patriots from cashing in following an interception from sophomore defensive back Earl Little Jr. with two minutes left in the half.
Both teams remained scoreless through the majority of the third quarter until Trinity Christian split the uprights on a 42-yard field goal try to cut the lead down to 24-10.
The Patriots offense remained silent as their lead dwindled to 24-17 after Trinity Christian continued to build momentum with another touchdown at the 10-minute mark of the fourth quarter.
Following another defensive stop, Trinity Christian pushed the Patriots’ backs against the wall with another drive deep into Heritage territory. With six minutes left on the clock, though, Little recovered a fumble for his second takeaway of the night to set up Heritage’s offense at midfield.
A few plays later, Rhodes kept it himself on the quarterback keeper for his fourth touchdown of the contest to give Heritage the 31-14 lead and close the door on Trinity Christian’s comeback hopes.
Despite the slow start to the second half, the Patriot’s strong overall showing on both sides of the ball helped seal the victory and move the team to 3-1 on the season. Heritage will take the next week off before heading home to take on North Miami Beach Friday, Sept. 27 at Heritage field.
“I’d describe it as a statement game,” freshman linebacker David Vadala, who finished with 13 tackles and a forced fumble, said on the team’s win. “We came in with all the distractions with traveling and being on the road, [but] we fought with everything we had and came out on top.”
“As a unit, I feel that we played really well, but we could’ve done more,” Little, who recorded two turnovers on the game, said. “Now all we have to do is enjoy the win and prepare for North Miami Beach in a few weeks.”