The Patriots defeated the Ft. Pierce Westwood Panthers with a score of 55-12 in the regional quarterfinal playoff game Nov. 11.
The Patriots came into the game favored to win, as they went undefeated during the regular season while the Panthers lost more games than they won. However, playoff football is unique in that anything can happen, including an upset. Also, four key players for the Patriots were resting for the night including senior quarterback Jason Brown and junior defensive tackle Jade Silvera, which gave the Panthers an opportunity to take the advantage.
The Panthers played an unorthodox game, mostly going for it on fourth down, and attempting to trick the Patriots defense into going offsides by not picking a play until their players were already lined up. The quarterback even tried to punt the ball without going into punt formation. However, this did not faze the Patriots much, as the defense stopped the Panthers from getting a first down, and then scored on their first offensive play of the game with an easy running touchdown from junior running back Jordan Johnson.
The Panthers did take advantage of Silvera’s absence on their second drive of the game. With the help of several penalties from the Patriots defense, the Panthers quarterback ran for a touchdown. This was the only score the Panthers had on the Patriots starting lineup.
Senior Darnell Fleury, starting wide receiver who started as quarterback for the game, impressed fans as he threw and ran for two touchdowns. Johnson also scored again late in the game along with junior Abraham Alce and sophomore Tyler Jones.
Best of all, this game allowed fans to see the future of the Patriots football program as multiple underclassmen earned a chance to play in their first-ever varsity match. Some standouts were freshmen Edwin Rhodes, Ruben Hyppolite and sophomore Jimmy Lowery.
This win moved Heritage closer to the State Finals where the players will try to win its third State Championship in four years. The Patriots will play Cardinal Gibbons next week in the regional semifinals.