September 8, 2013 2:42:20 AM
LOUISVILLE -- With spread offenses and passing attacks that are throwing the football 40-50 times a game running wild, one would expect the old-school approach under center with a fullback and running back to be a lost cause.
Heritage Academy football coach Barrett Donahoe still believes in the old-school approach.
Heritage Academy ran the I-Formation to near perfection Friday night as the Class AAA Patriots defeated the Class AA Winston Academy Patriots 28-7.
Heritage Academy improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2009 and served notice it intends to defend its Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AAA, Division II state championship.
"Were we as good as we want to be? No, we weren't. Were we simple tonight? Yes, we were," Donahoe said. "We never try to stretch the field. We did try to stretch the field one play and it turned into an offensive pass interference call. The only thing I'll say is we didn't play as disciplined as we did in the first few games, but overall it was a great football game."
For Heritage Academy, the victory came in large part thanks a huge advantage on the line. Winston Academy (0-3) was outmanned at each position up front. Heritage Academy exploited that edge by rushing for 272 yards on 48 carries. The tandem of Parker Short (21 carries, 111 yards, three touchdowns) and Hunter Anderson (13 carries, 114 yards, touchdown) led the way. Anderson worked both sides of the ball beautifully, playing a key role at linebacker. Heritage Academy allowed only 65 yards rushing on 31 carries.
Anderson credited the defensive front for making things easier for the rest of the defense.
"The defensive line getting a good push off of the ball starts everything," Anderson said. "If they get a good push off the ball, guys from the backfield focus on them and that gives me the ability to make the play on the guy with the ball."
Donahoe knows Anderson can be a lead blocker, a relentless runner, and a picturesque defender. He hopes his senior leader can continue to set the tone.
"He's just so special to us on the field," Donahoe said. "He does such a good job controlling the defense making plays sideline-to-sideline and runs to the ball hard. I thought at the end of the season last year he was our best defensive player and he's returned. He's just as valuable as a fullback, so he's really special."
So where do the Patriots stand in Donahoe's eyes? The first 3-0 start in four years is a big deal, but Jackson Academy comes to Columbus on Friday. .
In what will be the first MAIS Class AAA, District 1 game of the season, the Patriots still feel the sting of a 42-35 loss to Jackson Academy in Jackson.
A year older and wiser, Heritage Academy is looking forward to the opportunity.
"We feel like we're as good as anybody in AAA," Donahoe said. "It's a challenge, but I tell our guys all the time we're going out there to compete with everybody. We're going to put as much work in as coaches and players as we can to get out there and play on Friday night against Jackson Academy."
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