By: Chris Long and Joel Bryant
Finally. After a rocky non-conference stretch and an annoying bye week, the Huskies will begin CAP 8 play tomorrow as they host Leesville Road. Heritage enters conference play after going 2-2 in non-conference contests. Their struggles leading to their .500 record have been well documented- an impressive win over a tough Green Hope opponent, a failure on multiple levels against Rolesville in the following week, and a late-game collapse against Knightdale that left fans speechless. The Huskies did managed to finish their non-conference season on a good note with a 52-7 demolishing of Jordan. Outside of the 1st quarter, the Huskies’ performance against Jordan was easily the best they’ve played all season.
As we stand, the Huskies are still positioned to make the playoffs. However, if they start CAP 8 play with the same level of inconsistency we saw in the first four weeks, that will be a high order. Typically, three conference wins are required to be eligible for the postseason. Ideally, those wins would come against Sanderson, Enloe, and Broughton. A win against Leesville would either improve their chances or serve as a crutch should they drop one of those three. Not many experts expected the Huskies to compete for the top four spots in the conference, and that skepticism was reinforced with their two game slide earlier this season. Now is the time for Heritage to prove them wrong.
Leesville Road High School opened in 1993. The Pride are a part of the Cap 8 Conference and have always been strong in football, with 5 straight playoff appearances. This year, Leesville is having one of the strangest seasons you can imagine. They started off the season with their offense on fire. Quarterback Clay Vick torched defense after defense over the first 3 games, accumulating 1,368 yards and 14 TDs. Unfortunately, Vick’s impressive campaign was halted by a season-ending knee injury. Despite Vick’s success in those 3 games, Leesville only won 1 of them. Their struggles stem from their bizarrely inconsistent defensive play. The Pride have given up 6, 54, 83, and 24 points in their respective games for an average of 42 points per contest. If there’s any silver lining, it’s that they held Garner’s high powered offense to 24 points two weeks ago. Maybe things are trending upwards for the unit.
History vs. Leesville
Heritage is 2-3 against Leesville, including a loss in the 2012 playoffs. The Huskies have won the last two meetings, including the 30-7 rout the last time they met at Husky Stadium.
The following is the discussion segment, where Joel and Chris will debate key aspects of tomorrow’s game.
Chris: Will the running game flourish? With the chance of rain being very high for tomorrow night, the passing game might be out of the question. That leaves the Huskies dependent on their running game and their offensive line. If the running game is solid, they will have no problem winning.
Joel: Will this game be played? Serious question. There’s a 100% chance of rain tomorrow. Will they tough it out, or are we going to have to wait until Monday to see them play? We’ve already waited an extra week, two more days would be unbearable.
Players To Watch
C: Parker George. The kicking game could be tough in tomorrow’s conditions, and the Huskies will need to have strong special teams presence.
J: Jalen Pittman. Leesville’s secondary is not a strength and Pittman is getting better each game. It is a ripe situation for the junior to have a huge performance.
C: Leesville 27, Heritage 21.* The weather will limit the Huskies to a running game dependent on their weak offensive line.
J: Heritage 32, Leesville 20. Playing their first conference game in a tough environment will not bode well for Leesville’s struggling defense.
* May I please be wrong again.
Location: Heritage High School