What began with an uphill struggle for Heritage High's football team ended with some superb downhill running and a Bay Valley Athletic League victory at Freedom on Friday.
Kruger Story Jr. rushed 27 times for 184 yards and two touchdowns and Treyvon Hanna added 114 yards rushing and two more scores as the Patriots (6-2, 2-1 BVAL) overcame an opening 99-yard kickoff return by speedy Timazray Shepherd and a 14-0 deficit.
Utilizing a big and physical offensive line and 74 more inside yards rushing by Jeremiah Poti, Heritage piled up 372 rushing yards on 60 carries while scoring 28 of the game's final 31 points.
Hanna, a slick 5-foot-7, 165-pound senior, gave Heritage its first lead on a 59-yard TD sprint straight up the middle with 10 minutes, 37 seconds remaining in the game. Hanna, who earlier scored on a 13-yard run, normally does his damage on the edge, but this time he took a handoff from quarterback Brent Eikanas, raced through a giant hole off right guard and was never touched.
Following a fingertip interception by Shai Kobayashi, the Patriots all but put it away with a 53-yard touchdown drive, capped by a 1-yard somersault into the end zone by Story on fourth down with 7:09 left.
Story, who earlier scored on a 7-yard run, put an exclamation point on the victory with a 41-yard scamper on the game's final drive.
Freedom (4-4, 1-2) was in complete control early following Shepherd's touchdown, taking its first possession and going 60 yards capped by a 7-yard touchdown run from Dante Mayes. D'amora Cooper (17 carries, 96 yards) had a 24-yard run to start the drive and the Falcons had a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Heritage moved the chains throughout the first half but didn't score until 34.6 seconds left in the half on Story's 7-yard run. The touchdown was set up by a blocked punt by Eric Williams and Story scored two plays later.
That gave the Patriots loads of momentum in the second half and they opened with a 12-play, 80-yard march, capped by Hanna's 13-yard TD run to tie it at 14-14. Freedom took the lead right back 17-14 following a 13-play, 77-yard drive, capped by a 25-yard field goal from Robert Melena with 42.7 left in the third.
But Hanna put Heritage up for good with his 59-yard run.