Fast start lifts Heritage over Thornton

Adam Hothersall
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 9/19/18

The Heritage Eagle’s fast start so far this season didn’t slow down Sept. 14 at Five Star Stadium as it took two offensive plays to seize control and run away with a 40-6 win over the Thornton …

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Fast start lifts Heritage over Thornton

Posted

The Heritage Eagle’s fast start so far this season didn’t slow down Sept. 14 at Five Star Stadium as it took two offensive plays to seize control and run away with a 40-6 win over the Thornton Trojans (0-3).

The Eagles limped to a 2-8 record a season ago but have already recorded three wins in three tries in 2018.

“We are pretty excited about the start so far,” Heritage Coach Tyler Knoblock said. “We knew we had to get a little bit of confidence established early, so we have put a lot of stock into these early games. In some senses league play is all that matters, but RPI holds importance also. We weren’t a bad football team, but we couldn’t quite put four quarters together.”

The opening score for Heritage covered 56 yards in less than 30 seconds on a catch from senior Caden Downs (32 yards) and a 24-yard run from senior tailback Gianna Palazzo. The offense the rest of the first half led by junior Connor Cummiskey tallied for 248 yards on 32 plays (7.75 yards per play).

Despite the offense accumulating 30 points in the first half, the defense stole the spotlight for Heritage, allowing 31 yards in the opening two quarters. The longest play allowed by this stellar group was a nine-yard run from senior running back Traekwon Scott-Roberts.

In the second half, not much changed, especially for the rangy, athletic Eagles’ defensive squad. Domination, particularly by the front seven anchored by senior Zach Worthing, Heritage allowed 46 yards. With 15 negative plays caused throughout the evening, Thornton found themselves behind the chains with no escape.

“Those guys understood it started in the weight room and the totals that our front seven put up is pretty impressive,” Knoblock said. “We are pretty happy with where our defense is at. There are a lot of things from tonight we can get better at, but we knew coming out for a road game is never easy.”

The Trojans’ one bright spot offensively came from Scott-Roberts, whose 28 rushes for 68 yards didn’t display the kind of success the bruising back recorded. Scott-Roberts earned every yard including the 1-yard TD burst for Thornton’s lone score with 34 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

The Heritage defense found their way into the backfield routinely because of a 1-for-8 passing night (two interceptions) from the home teams’ quarterbacks.

“We were super concerned about him (Scott-Roberts) all week. He’s deadly on the cutback, so we had to stay patient and not allow the big play.”

A positive for Thornton heading into their next contest, however, is the superb play of their defense in the second half. Allowing only 49 yards on 22 plays (2.22 YPP), seniors Christian Gang, Alex Plante, and Angelo Romero led the group to ultimate success late.

“All in all I thought it was a great competition and I wish those guys nothing but the best this season. They are nothing but a first-class group and played a super clean ballgame all-around.”

A cleaner game for Thornton didn’t distract Knoblock of the fact that his team accumulated way too many penalties, particularly unnecessary roughness calls. If this group is looking for an exceptional season, this is a category that has to be cleaned up.

“There were a couple of calls that were close, and you don’t want to take the aggressiveness out of your defense, but it’s a very fine line of being smart on the perimeter. Definitely gave them the ball back and extended some drives with those penalties, so that’s something we have to look at and figure a way to manage.”

Thornton travels to Littleton (0-3) Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. as both schools look for their first win of the season. Heritage will hit the road anticipating a 4-0 start against Liberty (0-3) at 7 p.m. on Sept. 21.

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