Heritage snaps 20-game skid, downs Seymour
By Jill Dickman | (email@example.com)
SEYMOUR — Heritage got more than just 98 yards on its game winning drive. The Mountaineers snapped a 20-game losing streak, holding on as Seymour’s potential game-tying field goal went wide right by a foot to down Seymour, 41-38, Friday at Householder Field.
“The streak is over,” Heritage coach Tim Hammontree said. “We don’t want to visit that in years to come. This is a starting point for us. It is nothing that has anything to do with Seymour. It has to do with us. We have struggled with our level of confidence.”
Trailing by three in a back-and-forth affair, Heritage started from it’s own two with eight minutes left in the game and slowly inched its way down the field. Brandon Cutler, who rushed for 101 yards with two touchdowns on the night, converted a crucial third-and-11 before being pushed out of bounds behind his own bench and sprawling across all six lanes of the track surrounding the field.
“I really believe that it was those individual players that finally decided, look I am tired of this. I have to do something better. They did a self-check and came out and did they best they could,” Hammontree said of the drive that consumed more than six minutes.
Two plays later, Khalil Abuhania took over and with a double spin move over left tackle broke free for 26 yards into the end zone and a 3-point lead.
“We never quit, even at the end,” Abuhania said. “That drive was amazing. This should carry us into next week as long as we keep going. It is just a good feeling.”
The Mountaineers fought back from early turnover trouble by creating a few turnovers of their own.
Orlando Bledsoe set the Mountaineers into motion reeling off a 72-yard scoring journey as part of a 262-yard rushing night.
“Bledsoe has really improved his vision,” Hammontree said. “His ability to break tackles and run out there is amazing and repetition is key. He’s turning what was 3 yards into 6 and what was 8or 9 into 18 or 20.”
Heritage turned a fumble recovery and an interception of Nick Sexton into a 35-28 lead on three consecutive scores. Heritage trailed 28-21 when Chris Lim scooped up a Sexton fumble in front of the Seymour sidelines and rumbled 33 yards to tie the game. Three plays later Ben Sternbery intercepted Sexton and put Heritage in business at the 10. Dustin Richardson ran for the 4-yard touchdown to give the Mountaineers the lead.
Early on, it was Seymour that looked like they were going to run away with the night after recovering a Heritage fumble on the first play from scrimmage and using the short field for a 10-yard scoring drive to open a 70-point first half that stood 35-all at the break. The Eagles continued their surge on their ensuing possession with a 35-yard Tanner Sise scoring run for a 14-point lead.
Bledsoe answered right back to the flock of Eagles by carrying the ball four consecutive times for 62 yards. On the next play, Culter picked up his first touchdown of the night off a 6-yard carry diving over the pylon in the north end zone.
“We fought until the end,” Bledsoe told The Daily Times. “When we were down, we kept fighting. We didn’t stop. Coach is always telling us to keep our heads up. I just tell my teammates ‘You do what you do, I’ll do what I do. I’ll score for you, you block for me.’ That is how we did it and we got it done.”
It was back and forth from there.
Seymour rebuilt its lead again to two touchdowns off Tanner Sise’s 26-yard run, followed instantly by his 4-yard sprint down the outside into the end zone. The show continued as Cutler hit the end zone again, this time on a 34-yard run.
The first quarter seemed to be just a warm-up of the night for both sides, as the show continued early into the second. Nick Sexton connected with Braxton Dockery for a 16-yard touchdown run, making the score 28-14 before Heritage dominated the field, scoring three in a row. “Both teams made the adjustments at half,” Seymour coach Jim Moore said. We fight and we do everything we can but we are small upfront. Our kids don’t quit, they fight hard, but we get outsized sometimes. It was just one of those nights.”
Sexton finished 17-of-30 for 274 yards a TD finding Dickery seven times for a game-high 124 receiving yards. Sise added 125 yards on the ground with the pair of scores.
Heritage 41, Seymour 38
H 14 21 0 6 — 41
S 21 14 3 0 — 38
S 10:12 - Nick Sexton 2 run (JJ Jerman kick)
Four plays | 11 yards | 1:38 | S 7-0
S 8:12 - Tanner Sise 35 run (Jerman kick)
Two plays | 40 yards | :13 | S 14-0
H 6:42 - Brandon Cutler 6 run (kick fail)
Five plays | 80 yards | 1:30 | S 14-7
S 3:10 - Sise 4 run (Jerman kick)
Seven plays | 73 yards | 2:06 | S21-7
H Cutler 34 run (Bledsoe run)
Eight plays | 80 yards | 3:14 | S 21-14
S 7:24 - Braxton Dockery 16 pass from Sexton (Jerman kick)
10 plays | 65 yards | 4:41 | 28-14
H 7:01 - Orlando Bledsoe 72 run ( David Pickens kick)
Two plays | 80 yards | :12 | S 28-21
H 6:55 - Chris Lim 32 fumble return (Pickens kick)
One play | 32 yards | 28-28
H 4:56 - Dustin Richardson 10 run (Pickens pick)
One play | 10 yards | :06 | H 35-28
S 4:34 - Dockery 75 pass from Sexton (Jerman kick)
One play | 75 yards | :16 | 35-35
S 9:45 - Jerman 32 field goal kick
Six plays | 46 yards | 2:07 | S 38-35
H 2:12 - Khalil Abuhania 5 run (kick failed)
15 plays | 98 yards |6:15 | H 41-38
Firsts 15 19
Rush-Yd 24-160 51-375
Passing 274 61
Cmp-At-In 17-30-1 5-14-0