August 17, 2019 3:45:50 PM
Heritage Academy football coach Sean Harrison wasn't sure how his players would respond to facing a team they've never seen before.
After a 37-6 season-opening victory over Georgia-based Heritage School Friday at the SECIS Classic in Montgomery, Ala., he had his answer.
"We just went off some film of what they did last year," Harrison said of his team's preparation. "It is kind of nice to play someone new so the kids don't have any expectations off of what happened from a game last year. I thought the kids responded well to a new challenge."
Senior running back KJ Smith set the tone on the second play from scrimmage by taking a counter 60 yards to paydirt for the game's opening touchdown. Smith finished with 96 yards on eight carries and scored twice.
"I thought the offensive line played well, we have three new starters there and they have a long way to go," Harrison said. "But going out in Game One and getting 107 rushing yards is a good reflection on them."
Senior quarterback Carter Putt completed 9 of 15 passes for 204 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Meanwhile, Jared Long caught five passes for 64 yards and Noel Fisher hauled in two receptions for 51 yards, while Banks Hyde recorded two catches for 41 yards and a touchdown.
Heritage Academy outgained its opponent from Georgia 343 to 223 in total offensive yardage.
"I thought we played well for Game One," Harrison said. "We made a few mistakes, but we had no injuries and I thought we had everyone in the position they needed to be in. The good news was 99 percent of the mistakes we made are very fixable."
Hyde also picked off a pass and ran it back 33 yards for a touchdown, while Sam Hannon recorded an interception as well. The Patriots recovered two fumbles on defense.
Heritage Academy (1-0) has a showdown with Jackson Prep (0-0) looming at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Patriots' home opener.
"I think this game is great teaching tape and our big thing is just to see improvement each week and fix the mistakes we made and get more confidence and fix the assignments," Harrison said. "The home opener is a lot of fun and I'm excited for our fans to have an opportunity to see our guys play for the first time."