Patriots best Chargers, advance to Regional Finals

in Football/Game Coverage/Sports by
Fletcher beats the defender to the corner and turns upfield for the touchdown with eight minutes left in the first half. The score was one of four rushing touchdowns on the day for the Patriots. (Photo/Alycia Cypress)

After breezing past the Conchs in the Regional Quarterfinals, the Patriots played host to North Miami Beach Friday night in search of a spot in the Regional Finals.

To start out the contest, both teams exchanged early unsuccessful drives, with the Patriots drive stalling at the goal line. Heritage would cash in on their next trip to red zone, though, when senior QB Edwin Rhodes escaped the pocket and found the endzone from ten yards out to give the Patriots the 6-0 lead (after an unsuccessful two-point try) late in the first.

Later in the game, with 12 minutes to go in the second, Rhodes connected with senior wideout Douglas Emilien for the six-yard touchdown. On the ensuing two-point conversion attempt, junior DT Dallas Turner caught the back shoulder fade to boost Heritage’s lead to two possessions. 

Following another defensive stop, the Patriots continued to impose their will with another touchdown midway through the second, courtesy of a breakaway run from freshman RB Mark Fletcher. 

Heritage would close out the half by holding the Chargers scoreless to head into the break with the 21-0 advantage. 

The Patriots didn’t lose a step when they hit the field again in the third quarter, coming up with the quick three-and-out to set up the offense at midfield. Moments later, senior RB Carlson Joseph sped through the secondary to tack on another six points to the lead with nine minutes left in the third quarter. 

Later in the quarter, the Patriots’ special team unit blocked North Miami Beach’s punt to set up shop at the Chargers’ 28 yard line. On the next play, Rhodes lead Emilien to the middle of the endzone to extend the lead to 35-0. 

Heritage continued to add flame to the fire when freshman quarterback Blake Murphy ran it for a touchdown in the closing minutes of the third quarter to give the Patriots the 42-0 lead. Miscommunication on the next drive for the Chargers resulted in another two points for Heritage after the ball bounced into the back of the endzone for a safety. 

That score would prove to be the final one of the evening, as the Patriots would shutout the Chargers to advance to the Regional Finals next Friday, Nov. 22 where they will host Miami Northwestern for a chance at a spot in the State Semifinals.

“We played well, [but] left a few points early,” Joseph said. “Moving forward we need to play more aggressive and play for each other.” 

Sammy Rosenthal is a senior at American Heritage School in Plantation Fla. and is entering his fourth year writing for the newsmagazine; his second year as the publication’s Sports Editor. Sammy takes pride in being a die-hard Miami Heat and Dolphins fan as well as dedicating his Sunday to watching football.

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