Heritage Academy would like to build on last week's win
Quarterback Brandon Bell and the Heritage Academy Patriots host the Starkville Academy Volunteers on Friday night. (Photo by D.A. Williams, For Starkville Daily News)
A week ago, Heritage Academy head coach Brad Butler saw two different sides of his 2011 Patriots.
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First, there was the group that dug themselves a 21-0 first-half hole in Meridian against Lamar Academy.
Then, there was the unit that rebounded over the course of the third and fourth quarters to pull off an improbable 37-36, come-from-behind win.
It's that second-half version of the Heritage Academy team that Butler hopes shows up Friday when the Patriots host Starkville Academy at 7 p.m.
"I'm just so proud of the way the boys fought in the second half last week," said Butler. "It showed a lot of heart and a lot of character out of those guys and I was pleased with that. I wasn't real pleased with the way we came out to start the game, but we were able to regroup."
If Butler has his way, there will be no need for any second-half dramatics this week against the Volunteers.
For things to work out that way however, Heritage will again be looking to several of last week's key contributors to keep up their solid play.
Two of those individuals are senior quarterback Brandon Bell and junior wide receiver Cade Lott.
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Bell threw for 175 yards in the victory over Lamar, while Lott hauled in five receptions for 155 yards and two touchdowns, including the go-ahead score.
Yet Butler says Bell and Lott have plenty of talent around them to help out, as displayed a week ago.
"There were really a lot of guys that played really well for us in that second half last week," said Butler. "So we feel like we've got a lot of weapons."
Butler and the Patriots now look to use their skills to surge to a 2-0 start.
A win would be a welcome sight for everyone associated with the Heritage Academy program.
Last season, the Patriots won their season opener, then stumbled, winning just three of their final 10 games.
Heritage Academy also won just one of their five contests at home in 2010.
With all that in mind, Butler says a victory Friday would go a long way towards keeping 2011 heading in the right direction.
"It's big for us," said Butler. "We feel like we've got a little momentum coming out of last week and we want to keep that alive as the season goes to get where we want to be.
"We want to be able to make the playoffs and have a good year and with every win, you build that momentum to get where you want to go at the end of the season."