Midway through the second quarter Friday night, Heritage Academy quarterback Jack Ketchum was looking for a quick answer.
Visiting East Union had just gotten its first score of the game, and the Patriots didn’t want to give the Urchins any momentum.
Ketchum, who had struggled with an interception and a fumble in the first half, responded with focus as he led two methodical drives to keep the game in Patriots control.
“He’s a headsy guy, and he plays with confidence,” Pogue said of Ketchum, reflecting on his quarterback’s bounce back performance after early turnovers. “That stuff happens, but those are things he’ll learn from. It didn’t bite us tonight, but we can’t hand over the ball and we all understand that, he does and he’ll fix that.”
Ketchum helped Heritage Academy (2-1) right the ship in a 42-12 win over East Union (0-2).
As a whole, the Patriots looked determined to move on from their 55-7 loss last week at Jackson Prep, and they were particularly dominant on defense. They were effective in getting to the quarterback and stopping the run with the work of players like Radarron Leech and Charles Woodard up front as well as Luke Fisher and Adyn Westmoreland.
“Last week we got overwhelmed,” Pogue said, “and it’s good to come back and bounce back. I thought we had a really good week, and we kind of put it to action tonight. A few miscues early, but overall we played really well and played our best game defensively, which is encouraging.”
Ketchum, on the other hand, was less enthusiastic about how things were on the offensive side of the ball.
“It wasn’t a very good game by the offense. I think we could’ve done a lot better,” Ketchum said. “We should have been up 42-0 in the first quarter. It’s just mental stuff, and we’ve got to get better.”
Putting the mistakes behind him is important, but so is executing and not giving the other team a chance, no matter how good they are.
“We knew we were better than them,” Ketchum continued, “so there weren’t any nerves or anything, we just needed to execute. We know we can’t do that against a good team.”
The Patriots were indeed the stronger of the two teams from the start, with the defense not letting up a first down until the Urchins’ touchdown drive in the second quarter. An interception and a fumble by Ketchum on the Patriots’ first and third drives, respectively, probably slowed down what would have been a strong start out of the gate.
But Heritage Academy relied on running back Jay Stevenson, who had three total touchdowns on the day, and its offensive line.
Pogue was correct in his evaluation of the defensive performance, and according to Fisher, the work started right after the final whistle last Friday.
“It was huge,” the senior linebacker said. “Coming off a team like Prep, they’re good and they’ll expose every weakness you have, and we’re grateful for that. We got in and watched a lot of film, we got to work in practice and it definitely showed up today. We know we have plenty to work on, but it’s a good improvement.”
The Patriots will stay home to take on Washington School at 7 p.m. Friday.
Heritage Academy 42, East Union 12
Heritage Academy (2-1) 14 21 7 0 — 42
East Union (0-2) 0 6 0 6 — 12
HA — Jay Stevenson 10 run (Luke Fisher kick), clock 7:04
HA — Stevenson 6 run (Fisher kick), clock 1:04
HA — Jack Ketchum 2 run (Fisher kick), clock 8:38
EU — Riley Williams 45 pass from Drew Holliman (kick failed), clock 6:40
HA — Stevenson 16 pass from Ketchum (Fisher kick), clock 4:51
HA — Noah Madden 12 run (Fisher kick), clock 1:09
HA — Xzavier Webber 0 punt return (Fisher kick), clock 10:51
EU — Charlie Hazel 24 run (run failed), clock 4:09