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Heritage squanders lead late against Millbrook

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WAKE FOREST — Heritage’s football team took a 32-20 lead with four and a half minutes left in the third quarter. However, Millbrook scored two unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter to come back and beat the Huskies 33-32 on the road Friday.

Heritage’s offense had no trouble against the Wildcats for the first three quarters of the contest. Quarterback Walker Harris tossed four touchdown passes, twice to Jonah Portugal and one each to Whit Kane and Joshua Crabtree.

Heritage held a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter and extended that advantage to 22-14 at halftime. Although the Huskies stayed ahead, Millbrook kept it close.

At the end of the third quarter, Heritage took a 12-point lead by going up 32-20 after a 29-yard field goal made by Ben Steele.

Millbrook quarterback Tristen Pullen made two big plays in the final six minutes of the contest. On fourth and goal, he threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to 32-27. Then with less than two and a half minutes left in the game, the senior took it himself and ran 44 yards for the game-winning touchdown.

“Millbrook has a great quarterback,” Heritage head coach Wallace Clark said. “He does a great job running the ball. We didn’t contain him when we could have. We just have to do a better job tackling moving forward.”

Heritage had one last chance with about a minute left, but they failed to convert on fourth down. Millbrook took three knees and ended the night with a comeback win.

On that final fourth down play, Heritage was backed up by five extra yards from an illegal forward pass penalty earlier. Harris dumped off a short pass and the ball was lateraled from one player to another until Millbrook’s defense recovered a fumble to end the drive.

“We had a breakdown of execution on that final play,” Clark said. “Everyone wants to be the guy that wins the game for us. That fourth down play definitely didn’t turn out how we wanted it.”

Despite the defeat, Heritage still put up some great individual performances. Harris completed 26 out of 36 passes for a career-high 422 yards with four touchdowns and one interception, which he threw in the first quarter. Harris threw four touchdown passes in one game last year. The senior has never thrown over 400 yards before in his high school career.

Portugal torched the Millbrook defense with eight catches for 172 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Crabtree finished the night with nine catches for 137 yards and one touchdown. Kane hauled in six receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown.

Corey Peterson had a monster game for Heritage on defense. The senior linebacker led the Huskies with 14 tackles and also recorded two sacks. Chris Williams led Heritage with three sacks, while also tallying six tackles.

With the loss, Heritage dropped to 2-2 overall. The Huskies had posted back-to-back shutouts in the past two games. The defense couldn’t compete with Millbrook’s offense and it led to 33 points on the scoreboard against them.

“We have to go back to doing what we do best,” Clark said. “We made some good throws down the field, so we’ll focus more on that for offense. For defense, we just have to tackle better. We can’t allow extra yards. We also have to work on getting our penalties down.”

Heritage will play at Clayton tonight (Friday) at 7 p.m.


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