Heritage Heads To Shelby For 1st Round Playoff Game
Heritage Travels to Shelby for First Round Playoff Game
by David Grindstaff
An impressive win over league rival Madison in the regular season finale has earned the Heritage varsity football team a #11 seed and a first round NCHSAA 2A Playoff game at #6 seed Shelby (7-4) this coming Friday night.
Madison (6-4) a # 12 seed will travel to # 5 seed Polk County (8-3) for its first round game.
Mountain Heritage (4-2 WHC) and Madison (2-4 WHC) combined for nearly 1,000 yards of offense in a Western Highlands Conference shootout in the regular season finale in Marshall last week.
The last time the two varsity squads met on the gridiron the Cougars suffered through one of their worst playoff losses on record, a 62-7 drubbing by the Patriots in an opening round playoff game in 2012.
And after the Cougars fell behind 12-0 in the first minutes of the first quarter Friday night, it appeared that the Patriots might have a shot at a first ever third straight win over Heritage.
Madison standout Tyler Hoffman busted touchdown runs of 53 and 78 yards on the Patriots first two possessions of the evening. To some Cougar fans it looked like Heritage was in for a long night.
But Heritage Coach Joey Robinson and his staff have been in similar positions throughout the season and they shook off the early deficit and went to work doing what their team does best, run the football.
By the end of the second quarter the Cougars had grabbed a lead that they would not relinquish, running behind and offensive line (JP Tabor, Larry Peterson, Cody Morrow, Jake Virnelson and Drew Hoilman) that pounded out 426 yards on the artificial turf at Patriot Stadium.
After falling behind, Heritage showed its quick strike arsenal, driving 51 yards in 6 quick plays to trim the Patriot lead to 12-7.
Running back Dalton Robinson and OB Trevor Robinson each had key carries and a critical catch by Jake McClellan allowed the Cougars to move into the Red Zone where Dalton Robinson reached the end zone on a three yard run. With the first of six successful PAT kicks by Tristin McCarty, Heritage was right back in the game as the first quarter ended.
The Cougar-D stepped to the forefront the next time the Patriots got the football when defensive end Drew Hoilman harassed Madison QB Cole Cuthbertson into an INT.
Trevor Robinson then engineered a 9 play 85 yard drive that culminated with a 27 yard TD pass from Robinson to Dalton Cannon. Heritage led 14-12 at the intermission.
The Cougar offense continued to churn out the yards in the second half and exploded for 22 unanswered points in the third quarter to put some distance between themselves and their neighbors from Marshall.
On their first possession of the second half, Dalton Robinson took a handoff from Trevor Robinsoin and followed his blocking while running over a few Patriots on his way to a 37 yard touchdown run that together with McCarty’s Pat put the Cougars in front 21-12 with 9:51 remaining in the third stanza.
Heritage used a big defensive hit by Tyler Brown to jar the football loose on Madison’s first offensive touch of the third quarter. Brown pounced on the ball at the Cougar 29 and the Cougar offense chewed up big chunks of real estate and increased their advantage to 28-12 following a two yard Daulton Buchanan touchdown run.
After the Patriotshad driven to the Cougar 15 midway throught the third, Heritage stopped the drive with a bone jarring hit by Drew Hoilman left Madison short of the first down marker.
The third quarter barrage ended when Trevor Robinson called his own number to finish off the final four yards of the 85 yard march. His touchdown run and subsequient two point pass to Dalton Robinson lifted Heritage to a commanding 36-12 lead.
Cuthbertson, who ran for 93 yards in the contest, got loose for a 50 yard TD run in the final minute of the third quarter to give the Patriots some hope going into the final quarter of regular season play in the Western Highlands Conference.
But the two teams traded touchdowns in the final 12 minutes and the Cougars celebrated a 50-33 win on the road.
Trevor Robinsoin, who carried the football twenty times for 171 yards against the Patriots, scored on a four yard run and Dalton Robinson, who finished with 158 yards rushing on twenty carries as well, scored the Cougars final points on a two yard run. The two backfield mates combined for 329 yards rushing and five touchdowns to pace the Cougars in the finale.