By Owen Gotimer
Leesburg (September 3, 2016) – When a team loses a fumble on their first play from scrimmage, they typically give up and crumble. But, on September 2 in Leesburg, the Heritage High School football team bounced back, forced a turnover on downs on Fauquier High School’s ensuing possession after the lost fumble then went on to mount a second half comeback to defeat the Falcons, 21-12.
“Obviously, in the first half, we made too many mistakes. We knew they were going to be a tough opponent; they were much improved from last year,” Heritage head coach Reed Prosser said. “What we tried to focus on at halftime was to just execute. We had some hiccups and didn’t play as cleanly as we wanted to, but we were really resilient, and I was proud of the kids’ efforts.”
After trading punts and turnovers in the first quarter, Fauquier got on the board twice in the matter of minutes midway through the second quarter when junior quarterback Dakari Mullins followed up junior receiver Cole Anderson’s 5-yard touchdown run with a 58-yard touchdown run of his own.
But after that touchdown with just under five minutes left in the second quarter, the Pride defense stepped up and did not allow a Falcon score for the rest of the game.
“I was really proud of our defense. It has improved a lot in the four years that I’ve been here,” Prosser said. “The kids have bought in, they’re playing hard and they’re playing with passion.”
Down 12-0 late in the first half, Heritage finally found the end zone when senior running back Jon Wooden carried the ball through the Fauquier defense to cut the Falcons’ lead in half heading into halftime.
“I have to give the credit to my line. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be able to get into the end zone and do what I do,” Wooden said. “The love goes out to them. They did their job which enabled me to do mine.”
The momentum Wooden and the Pride offensive line established going into halftime, carried on into the second half when just three minutes into the third quarter Heritage senior quarterback Alex Carlin connected with junior receiver Aaron Maisus for a 42-yard touchdown pitch-and-catch to put the Pride up two.
“We stayed mentally aware of what was going on and just executed where we saw a weakness in the defense,” Maisus said.
The Heritage offense – which was without starting halfback Luke Schaub for most of the game – added cushion to their lead early in the fourth quarter when junior receiver Tyrique Moss caught a pass from Carlin near the 50-yard line before running over a Fauquier defensive back to pick up an additional 10 yards. On the next play, Carlin found Wooden on a screen pass as Wooden rumbled 34 yards down to the Fauquier 5-yard line. Later in the series, Wooden – who carried most of the workload for the Pride in Schaub’s absence – found the hole in his offensive line and ran right into the end zone to give Heritage a two-score lead.
“Luke is a big part of our offense, but when one man goes down, another has to step up and grind,” Wooden said. “He went down, and we just kept doing what we do.”
Maisus all but put the game on ice when he intercepted senior quarterback Ryan Crabtree with less than eight minutes left in the game, however, turnovers continued to plague the Pride who fumbled on the ensuing offensive play. Yet, three plays later the Heritage defense stepped up again as senior defensive back Aaron Walsh picked off the Fauquier quarterback.
“It’s huge. It’s huge,” Prosser said. “When we got it back the first time, we were just going to try to run some clock then punt it because we were up to scores. But obviously the turnover occurred right away. Then the defense stepped up again.”
— Owen Gotimer (@BigO_Gotimer) September 3, 2016
Sitting at 2-0 for the second straight season, Heritage hosts 2-0 Loudoun Valley High School on September 9 in Leesburg for the LoCoSports’ Game of the Week.
“We don’t give up,” Wooden said. “No matter what the circumstances are we will fight our butts off putting 100-percent out on the field.”
2Q 6:17 F Cole Anderson 5-yard TD run (PAT failed)
2Q 4:44 F Dakari Mullins 58-yard TD run (2PT failed)
2Q 1:42 H Jon Wooden 6-yard TD run (Hohenschutz PAT)
3Q 9:11 H Alex Carlin to Aaron Maisus 42-yard TD pass (Hohenschutz PAT)
4Q 9:28 H Jon Wooden 5-yard TD run (Hohenschutz PAT)