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Heritage shuts down Knightdale

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KNIGHTDALE — The Heritage High football team took flight to overwhelm Knightdale’s walking wounded, 29-0, last Friday night on the road.

The Huskies (6-3 overall, 3-0 in Northern Athletic Conference VI) extended their four-straight-victory hot streak using the hot hand of quarterback Walker Harris. The senior slinger hit 24-of-39 tosses for 325 yards and three touchdowns, while also surpassing the 2,000-yard plateau for the season.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Knights (5-4 overall, 0-3 in league) dropped their fourth-consecutive contest. With 1,000-yard rusher Trevion Cooley on crutches, their ground game accounted for just 13 yards on 30 carries.

Knightdale freshman quarterback Micah Sumpter (5-of-19, 100 yards) was rudely treated to five sacks in his first varsity start, as well.

Heritage inflicted Knightdale with terrible field position on its gridiron, since the hosts’ average start along 13 offensive possessions was their own 22.

Both clubs traded eight fruitless series into the second quarter. There, a 33-yard Dax Hardy punt flip-flopped fortunes and pinned the Huskies at their own 2-yard line. Two hikes later, however, Harris hit Whit Kane on a weaving 87-yard catch-and-carry to the far end zone. Ben Steele’s PAT put the guests ahead, 7-0, to stay with 6 minutes, 8 seconds left until half.

A Heritage fumble at the Knight 1 cost it insurance on the ensuing try, but Harris rectified that situation by firing a 29-yard strike to Joshua Crabtree with 24.3 seconds left prior to intermission. Steele’s bonus provided a 14-0 margin.

The Huskies enjoyed a 36-21 offensive-play advantage during the opening 24 minutes, and the ability to keep control returned in the latter sessions. Heritage finished with a 22-6 first-down edge as well as nearly 30-minute domination in total time of possession.

Late in the third, with Knightdale bogged down at its own 7, a pressured punt traveled three yards. Corey Peterson caught it and pushed the short distance across to inflate the visitor cushion. A two-point conversion upped it to 22-0.

Knightdale suffered an interception on its next bid. Heritage promptly traveled 46 yards in six snaps, concluding with a 9-yard Harris hurl to Kane. That corresponding Steele PAT posted the final count with 11:42 remaining.

Knight Aeneas Peebles blocked a 50-yard Husky field-goal attempt in the fourth, deflecting it into the hands of Jaelyn Purcell for a scoot to the Heritage 41. Sumpter fired a 33-yard bingo to Brandon Ricks, spurring Knightdale as close as the Heritage 1 prior to being stopped on fourth-and-goal. The shutout was preserved.

Heritage tacked up 424 yards total offense on 64 plays against Knightdale’s 113 yards on 49 plays.

It next puts its spotless NAC mark and recent streak on the line at home vs. Rolesville (8-1, 2-1) tonight. The Knights seek a drought-ending victory on the road at Corinth-Holders (4-4, 0-3).