September 5, 2010 12:22:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- The Heritage Academy Patriots took control early on the road and never looked back Friday night en route to a 22-7 victory against Starkville Academy.
"They (Starkville Academy) caused us a ton of problems with their defense," Heritage Academy second-year head coach Brad Butler said. "In the second half they never gave up and stuck with it, and their quarterback (Kyle Henson) was a great athlete for them tonight."
Heritage Academy struck first when junior quarterback Brandon Bell found the end zone on a 1-yard quarterback sneak to cap a four play, 33-yard drive with 9 minutes, 24 seconds to go in the first quarter. Bell had a game-high 150 rushing yards on 22 attempts.
"He (Bell) played his heart out and was impressive tonight," Butler said. "We relied heavily upon him in the second half to keep the ball moving."
The remainder of the first quarter went back and forth until Bell scored from 3 yards on fourth-and-goal to cap an 11-play, 80 yard drive and to help make it 13-0 with 9:24 remaining in the second quarter.
Less than three minutes later, Starkville Academy retaliated when Henson scampered 31 yards for a touchdown while avoiding three would-be tacklers. Henson had a team-high 140 yards rushing, with 114 coming in the first half.
"We had a tough night offensively, but you have to give Heritage credit with its defense," Starkville Academy first-year head coach Jeff Terrill said. "Unfortunately, we did not make enough plays happen for us tonight."
On the ensuing drive, Bell, who was 9 of 16 for 159 yards, connected with sophomore wide receiver Parker Dunaway on an impressive 74-yard reception. Dunaway was all but headed for the end zone before Henson came from behind and took him down around the 10-yard line. The touchdown-saving stop led to a Heritage Academy field goal with 5:06 left in the first half that gave the Patriots a 16-7 lead.
Starkville Academy''s defense held for almost the entire second half and even blocked a punt by Stephen Robertson. Ryan Mann also intercepted a pass from Bell, but the Volunteers turned the ball over on downs on each opportunity.
"We had some tough plays happen, but we have to realize these young mens'' determination and effort here tonight," Terrill said. "I believe if we continue to play with that type of effort and determination we will win some football games."
The Patriots tallied their final points with 1:59 to go in the game, as senior tailback John Laws Ferguson scored on a 3-yard draw.
"John Laws has been a little banged up this past week, but when it came game time he found a way to grind it out," Butler said. "That is what it takes to be a good football player, and he is proving that to me and the other coaches."
Heritage Academy will return home next week and play host to Lamar School, while Starkville Academy will travel to Parklane Academy.