‘United’ Her­itage rolls past North­west

The Catoosa County News - - SPORTS - By Scott Herpst sherpst@npco.com

Fri­day night, some seven-and-ahalf hours af­ter leav­ing the hos­pi­tal for the first time in over two weeks, Her­itage se­nior foot­ball player Thomas Owens was rolled out in a wheel­chair to the 50-yard line where he served as one of the Gen­er­als’ cap­tains for their Se­nior Night game ver­sus North­west Whit­field.

Owens, who is fac­ing a very lengthy re­hab af­ter surgery to re­pair a shat­tered leg, sim­ply wasn’t go­ing to miss be­ing there for his fi­nal home game... and his team­mates cer­tainly weren’t go­ing to let him down.

Her­itage turned what was look­ing like a shootout with the vis­it­ing Bru­ins into a 56-28 run­away vic­tory that se­cured the No. 3 seed for the Gen­er­als in this week’s Class AAAA state play­offs.

Head coach E.K. Slaugh­ter said that it meant a lot to have Owens, a vo­cal and spir­i­tual leader for the Gen­er­als all sea­son long, back on the side­lines.

“It meant a lot for us as coaches and it meant a lot for our guys, es­pe­cially our se­niors,” Slaugh­ter said. “What that kid is go­ing through is hard, but he got out at noon to­day and he made sure he made it here be­cause he re­ally cares about his team­mates and it’s im­por­tant for our guys to see that. Our theme this year is “United” and we are united be­cause we have kids like Thomas, who loves his team­mates, and we have team­mates that love their brother. That’s what it’s all about.”

A back-and-forth first quar­ter saw the Bru­ins forge a 21-14 lead. How­ever, the Gen­er­als’ de­fense would find its foot­ing over the fi­nal three quar­ters to keep the high-pow­ered Bru­ins’ of­fense off the score­board the rest of the way. North­west’s only other score in the fi­nal three quar­ters came on a short in­ter­cep­tion re­turn.

“We fi­nally set­tled down,” Slaugh­ter ex­plained. “We made a cou­ple of coach­ing ad­just­ments, but mainly we just set­tled down. You can’t du­pli­cate what North­west does in prac­tice. They’ve got re­ally good re­ceivers and they block very well on the edge. It took us awhile to get set­tled into that, but the other thing was that our of­fense put some pres­sure on them.”

Make that a lot of pres­sure. Quar­ter­back Nick Han­son com­pleted 15-of-23 passes for 321 yards and four touch­downs, while run­ning back Jef­fery Cur­tis’ 42-yard half­back touch­down pass to Chan­dler Hill put the Gen­er­als just shy of 375 yards through the air.

/ Michelle Petteys, Her­itage Snap­shots

Her­itage re­ceiver Nolan Let­z­gus tries to fight though a tackle dur­ing Fri­day’s 5628 win over North­west Whit­field. Let­z­gus caught nine passes for 226 yards and added an 87-yard kick re­turn. He also had an 85-yard punt re­turn called back on a penalty.

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