Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.
WAKE FOREST — At one point, it looked like Heritage’s football team had a chance to beat Cardinal Gibbons. Then that opportunity faded into obscurity as the Crusaders pulled away from the Huskies with the 52-22 win at Heritage Friday.
Cardinal Gibbons piled on 52 points on Heritage’s defense. That’s the most the Huskies have given up since they lost to Wake Forest 63-6 back on Oct. 16, 2015. The most points Heritage had allowed this season before their match-up with the Crusader was 33 points to Millbrook in their last loss.
Heritage head coach Wallace Clark said the loss was more about Cardinal Gibbons being a good football team rather than his guys being a bad football team.
“I think our defense got worn down early,” Clark said. “Cardinal Gibbons had a good game plan. They force a lot of defenses to get out of sync. Cardinal Gibbons is a good football team.”
Cardinal Gibbons scored on their first possession of the night off an 8-yard touchdown pass. Heritage answered back on the very next drive off a short 3-yard touchdown toss from quarterback Walker Harris to receiver Whit Kane.
Less than a minute later, the Crusaders struck back with a 79-yard touchdown pass. Heritage tried to respond, but Jalen Campbell fumbled the ball and the Cardinal Gibbons defense recovered.
However, Heritage quickly got the ball back after an interception from Marques Roper. It seemed as if momentum shifted to favor the Huskies, but that simply wasn’t so. Heritage couldn’t capitalize off the turnover and from that point on, Cardinal Gibbons dominated the game.
The Crusaders scored 22 unanswered points in the second quarter to take a 35-7 lead with less than seven minutes left in the first half. Heritage cut the deficit thanks to two passing touchdowns to Joshua Crabtree. The Crusaders kept piling on the points to finish the night with a 52-22 blowout.
This Cardinal Gibbons squad is the same team that beat Wake Forest in the first game of the season. The Crusaders flexed their muscles by beating another Wake Forest-based team.
Cardinal Gibbons shut down Heritage’s run game early and forced them to be one-dimensional throughout the night. That allowed the Crusaders to play stout defense, holding the Huskies to just eight points in the second half.
Heritage only carried the ball 12 times for 27 yards against Cardinal Gibbons, but had nearly 300 yards through the air. Kane led the Huskies in receiving with 12 catches for 109 yards. Crabtree was right behind him with six receptions for 92 yards.
“Our offensive guys got beat up pretty bad in our last game against Clayton and they still haven’t fully recovered from that yet,” Clark said. “We’ve got guys banged up. I’m not going to make that a major excuse for us. We gave up too many points and Cardinal Gibbons scored quicker than we did.”
Heritage had a few highlight plays on defense. Nick Petruccelli recorded a sack and recovered a fumble. Chris Williams totaled seven tackles, including a sack. Corey Peterson led the Huskies with 12 tackles.
“We have to go back and look at the film and see what we did wrong,” Clark said. “We’re trying to find out how we can bring out the best in the kids we have this year. We just have to come back together and see how we can get better each week.”
After the loss to Cardinal Gibbons, Heritage finished their game with Clayton Monday night with a 28-14 win. The game was resumed after a lightning delay last Friday in the third quarter.
Heritage was held to just 16 rushing yards against Clayton, but the Huskies made up for it through the passing game. Harris and Cade Cunningham split the passing game together and the two quarterbacks combined for 234 passing yards and three touchdowns.
Kane had two catches that both ended in touchdowns. The senior wide receiver finished the night with 43 yards. Joseph Pritt caught four passes for 46 yards and a touchdown. Jalen Campbell contributed for the Huskies with six catches for 105 yards.
Peterson was all over the field for Heritage at defense. The senior linebacker logged 20 tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a sack. Dillon Bethea totaled 15 tackles and a sack against Clayton.
With the win, Heritage bumped up to 3-3 overall. The Huskies will open NAC 6 conference play at Corinth Holders Friday Oct. 11 at 7 p.m.