One week after a heartbreaking loss to Springfield, White House Heritage got things back on track Friday with a dominant 42-0 home win over Sycamore.
After taking a two-touchdown lead into the half, the Patriot defense came up big with several forced turnovers that led to three touchdowns in less than four minutes and turned the game into a convincing rout.
“We told them all week that Sycamore was a physical football team and had some good skill that I felt was going to challenge us,” Heritage coach Stetson Dickerson said. “We knew they were going to give us a fight early, and we just had to withstand it. That zero on the scoreboard is a testament to these kids. I’m tickled for them because they deserve it.”
The game remained scoreless until early in the second quarter when Heritage got on the board with a 38-yard touchdown run from Parker Deaton.
The Patriots found the endzone again on their following drive, marching 67 yards in 11 plays to score with a 1-yard run from Jackson Mapes and take a 14-0 halftime lead.
Mapes carried the ball seven times on the opening drive of the third quarter, rushing for 49 yards and his second 1-yard touchdown of the night.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Patriots recovered a Sycamore fumble to retake possession deep in War Eagle territory. Four plays later, quarterback Will Wilson found Tommy Freel for a 4-yard touchdown pass.
The flurry of touchdowns continued three plays into Sycamore’s ensuing drive. Trenton Tuttle picked off a Sycamore pass from Grady McPherson and strolled into the endzone for a 25-yard return, increasing the Patriots’ lead to 35-0.
“We told the players all year that they had the ability to do something special and take us a step forward from where we’ve been,” Dickerson said. “They’ve put in all that work, and it’s just exciting for us to see the kids go out and see the fruits of their labor.
“The atmosphere in the locker room is ten thousand miles away from the locker room last year, and it has everything to do with how the kids have bought in.”
Malakhai Illaramendi added a final touchdown with a 3-yard run in the fourth quarter.
“We’re really focused on our region and thankfully this was a non-region game for us,” Sycamore coach Justin Robison said. “We schedule teams like White House Heritage because we know they’re good and they’re going to make us better.
“We played a great first half of football, but we’ve got to put a complete game together. What got us tonight was injuries and fatigue.”
Deaton led Heritage with 85 rushing yards on nine carries, while Mapes finished with 70 rushing yards on 12 carries. Illaramendi had 67 yards on 10 carries.
White House Heritage (3-1) has its sights set on Friday’s Region 5-4A home contest against Greenbrier.. Sycamore (2-2) will look to rebound with a region matchup at Fairview.
“We set a goal as a team to make the playoffs,” Dickerson added. “These region games are the ones that really matter and can ultimately put us in the position that we want to be in.”