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Heritage survives to hold off Wakefield's comeback attempt

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WAKE FOREST — Heritage’s football team built up a 34-0 lead in the first half and Wakefield almost pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in history, but the Huskies drained the clock in the final minutes to win 34-28 at home Friday. Heritage was completely scoreless in the second half, which gave Wakefield a chance to get back into the game. It was a scary moment for the Heritage home crowd after the Wolverines cut the deficit to 34-28 with 5:42 remaining. However, the Huskies made just enough big plays to secure their third win in a row. “We’ve got a tough conference and we knew Wakefield was going to come out and change some things and make some adjustments,” Heritage head coach Wallace Clark said. “Our offense hung in there tonight. On defense, we missed some tackles. Wakefield has some great athletes over there. I’m glad we came out victorious. I’m proud of these young men.” Heritage’s hot start mostly came off of Wakefield penalties and turnovers. On their first possession of the game, Heritage quarterback Walker Harris found receiver Whit Kane in the back corner of the end zone for the first score of the game at 7-0. On the next drive, Wakefield fumbled the shotgun snap and Heritage’s defense recovered the ball close to the goal line. On the very next play, Heritage running back Trey Holloway punched in the 1-yard score. Later on, Heritage linebacker Luke Maicon recovered a fumble. Three minutes later, the Huskies scored again off a 24-yard touchdown pass from Harris to Brodrick Gooch. In the second quarter, Heritage scored off a short rushing touchdown from Jalen Campbell and then a 50-yard touchdown pass to Gooch. That gave the Huskies a comfortable 34-0 lead with 7:42 left in the second quarter. “Our offense was doing well all week at practice,” Clark said. “We knew we had to get the ball out quick in the passing game against Wakefield’s defense. Wakefield brought pressure and has a good defensive group. We watched a lot of film leading up to this game. The offensive line did an awesome job picking up some of Wakefield’s blitzes, so my hats go off to them. Our staff did a great job preparing the players.” Harris talked about his top target Gooch, who finished the night with a career-high nine catches for 185 yards and two touchdowns.

“Brodrick is a beast,” Harris said. “He’s a sophomore, but he’s a grown man among boys out there. I don’t think anyone can guard him one-on-one. I think he’s going to do great things here at Heritage.” Harris himself completed 35 passes out of 46 attempts for 433 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Kane hauled in 12 receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown. Jonah Portugal also had a decent night with six catches for 54 yards. “We took a lot advantages with the opportunities given to us,” Harris said. “I think we have some of the best receivers in the state. We did well with taking advantage to pull out the win.” Wakefield slowly put themselves back into the mix with four consecutive touchdown passes from Trexler Ivey. Two were to Will Lohr, one was to Nehemiah Jones and the last one was a 12-yard toss to Juwan Bunch. After the big score to Bunch, Heritage got the ball back on the ensuing kickoff. It was a tense five minutes, but Harris kept completing short passes for first downs, draining the clock as much as they could. After Wakefield took their third and final timeout, Harris thread the needle with a pass to Kane, who earned the first down on the big play. After that moment, Heritage let the clock go down to zero and held on for the big conference rivalry victory. “The offense has the defense’s back and the defense has the offense’s back,” Harris said. “Our offense died out in the second half, but the defense held on just long enough for us to get the win. So we just have to work on that moving forward.” With the loss, Wakefield dropped to 4-4 overall and 0-2 in the NAC 6 conference. The Wolverines have work to do on defense after allowing more than 30 points in back-to-back games. With the win, Heritage improved to 5-3 overall and 2-0 in the NAC 6. The Huskies avenged their loss to the Wolverines from last year, dropping a 21-14 defeat at their place. This time, Heritage came out with a win. “We have to get healthy,” Clark said. “We have to look back at some of the film to see where we made our mistakes. We’re just looking forward to the next game.” Heritage will play at Knightdale Friday at 7 p.m. Wakefield will play Corinth Holders at home at the same date and time.