August 18, 2012 3:43:13 AM
New Heritage Academy football coach Barrett Donahoe got the type of start he wanted Friday night.
Parker Dunaway sparked the C.L. Mitchell Field crowd with a 58-yard interception return for a touchdown on the Patriots first defensive possession.
The highlights were limited after that as the Patriots allowed two return touchdowns of their own and eventually dropped a 36-23 season-opening decision to Lamar School.
"We played really well in the first and fourth quarters," said Donahoe, who left Marshall Academy to take over the Heritage Academy program this spring. "The middle two quarters not so much. Some of it is mental. Some of it is physical. We made mistakes. We have to correct those and grow as a football team."
Heritage Academy actually built a 16-12 lead after one quarter and it appeared the schools were on a similar track to last season when the Patriots took a 37-36 victory in Meridian.
On this night, things then quickly soured for the Heritage Academy offense. The Patriots ran five plays without a first down in the second quarter. The no first down streak stretched from there until midway through the fourth quarter.
By that time, the Raiders were on the verge of 24 straight points.
"The coaches do a great job of putting us in a position," Heritage Academy senior lineman Wesley Swedenburg said. "After that, it is on us players to execute. We didn't get much going. Give credit to Lamar for making more plays than we did."
The Patriots managed only 147 yards of total offense on 49 plays. The cause was also not aided by four interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Lamar Academy also had a freakish 31-yard return of a blocked punt for another score. A myriad of players from both teams touched the blocked punt before Pet Mosley scored the potentially back-breaking touchdown for a 29-16 lead.
Miller Puckett led Heritage Academy with 10 rushes for 47 yards, including a fourth quarter 2-yard touchdown run. A 7-yard run by Hunter Anderson was the other score for the hosts.
Scott is sports copy editor and reporter
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