Bell leads Heritage to win against SA
Starkville Academy's Ryan Mann (33) gets in position to block as quarterback Kyle Henson (8) drops back to pass Friday night. (D.A. Williams/For The Daily News)
The Starkville Academy student body had their share of bells to ring at J.E. Logan Field Friday night.
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All the Heritage Academy Patriots needed was one and their Bell was the loudest.
Heritage junior quarterback Brandon Bell was responsible for 290 yards of total offense with 124 yards coming on the ground and 146 yards through the air and led his team to a 22-7 victory against the Volunteers.
Bell, a transfer from Caledonia, showed balance and was difficult to bring down by just one player.
"He's a big guy and a big load that you've got to gang tackle," Starkville Academy coach Jeff Terrill said. "There were times they did a good job of getting him in one-on-one situations and that made it tough on us."
Bell scored a pair of first-half rushing touchdowns for the Patriots with a 1-yarder with 9:24 remaining in the first quarter and a 3-yarder with 9:24 left in the second quarter.
Heritage coach Brad Butler, a former SA assistant, was impressed with the effort from Bell.
"He played his heart out tonight and was impressive," Butler said. "I haven't seen any stats and it doesn't matter. The way he played the first half, it was all heart."
The Vols countered one of Bell's touchdowns with one of their own as quarterback Kyle Henson broke loose on a 31-yard run at the 6:58 mark of the second quarter.
After missing an extra point earlier in the half, Hudson Bean made up for it for the Patriots and extended their margin to 16-7 with a 24-yard field goal with 5:06 left in the first half.
The two teams nearly played through a scoreless second half before John Laws Ferguson put the finishing touches on the victory for Heritage with a 4-yard scoring run at the 1:59 mark of the fourth quarter.
For the third-straight game, Starkville Academy failed to score points in the second half and Terrill gave credit to the Patriots for their defense.
"Coach Butler did a fine job of getting them to play for four quarters," Terrill said. "No, we're not making enough plays on offense."
Even though the Vols had a difficult time scoring against the Patriots, the point-spread was better than last year's 46-23 loss in Columbus.
"They got after us defensively and gave us some problems as far as protecting (the quarterback)," Butler said. "Offensively, they are good at what they do. They stick with it and they popped some. The quarterback made some plays."
Henson had 141 yards of total offense for Starkville Academy and was the top ground gainer in the game with 127 yards on 16 carries.
Terrill thought his defense competed throughout the game and gave the offense chances.
The best opportunity came with 7:49 after Ryan Mann returned an interception to the Heritage 20-yard line. The Vols ended up bogging down offensively, losing 6 yards on three plays.
"We had the big turnover and several opportunities," Terrill said. "It may not have always been red zone, but in their territory to do something with the ball and just weren't able to convert.
"The positive side of the game for us is even though we fell in the hole, I thought our defense kept playing and kept us in the ballgame."
Starkville Academy (0-3) makes the trip to McComb next Friday to take on Parklane Academy.
Terrill believes the Vols will keep fighting and eventually will find themselves on the winning side of the scoreboard.
"Don't be deceived of the resolve and determination these young men have," Terrill said. "The season is not going to be marked by wins and losses. There's no doubt the effort they are giving is being recognized and I just really believe if they'll keep coming, we will win."