MIDLOTHIAN — Before a hometown crowd, the Midlothian Heritage Jaguars opened their season by showcasing both offensive agility and defensive strength, downing the Sunnyvale Raiders 44-15.
“It was a pretty impressive win. Everybody got to play a lot. We did some things good and we did some things bad, but that’s the game of football. It was a beautiful evening and it was great to open the season with a win before the home crowd,” Heritage head coach Lee Wiginton said.
The Jaguars took the game opening kickoff to the 23-yard line. On the second play from scrimmage, Raja Banks held off Raiders defenders for a 70-yard run to pay dirt. The point after failed, giving the Jaguars a 6-0 lead in the opening minutes of the week zero contest.
On the ensuing kickoff, Sunnyvale started its first drive from the 31-yard line. The possession was short lived, however, as the Raiders had to give the ball up after three plays after failing to convert on third down.
The first quarter ended with the Jaguar defense holding the Eagles scoreless and clinging to a 6-0 lead.
In the early minutes of the second quarter, the Heritage offense struck again — this time with a drive capped by 3-yard run by Nathan Gaskamp. The point after attempt by Matt Stanton was true, giving Heritage a 13-0 lead.
After stopping the Raiders in their tracks, a Stanton 23-yard field goal extended the Jaguar lead to 19-0 midway through the second quarter.
The final scoring drive of the first half came on an 8-yard strike from quarterback Landon Ledbetter to Banks. The Stanton PAT attempt gave the Jaguars a 23-0 first-half lead.
The Raiders began the second half with possession but a Jaguar interception on the second play from scrimmage put the football back into the hands of the Heritage offense. Moving the ball down to the Raider 15-yard line, Kerrion Fields caught a Ledbetter pass in stride and crossed the goal line for a 30-0 Jaguar lead.
Heritage ended the third quarter with a 44-0 lead after touchdowns by Dustin Brasher (14-yard run) and Langston Anderson (25-yard run).
With the game well in hand, Sunnyvale tacked on three-straight touchdowns on Tripp Mcada runs of two and six yards followed by a safety.
The Heritage defense recovered three fumbles and took the ball away with two interceptions.
“The defense played really well through the first half, but offensively we just left too much stuff out there. We’ll get those things straightened out before next week,” Wiginton said. “It was a great win. I’m so proud of them. They did a great job the whole night. There were three good quarters of ball. The defense played good. We had some good goal line stands. Had a fourth down stop and a turnover."
The head coach added, "IIn the fourth quarter we didn’t move the ball at all. It put the defense in a real bind, having to go back out without any rest time. It was tough on them, but they continued to play well."
Banks led all ballcarriers with six carries for 104 yards. Nathan Gascamp added 13 carries for 94 and Dusitn Brasher scored two touchdowns on three carries for 41 yards.
Quarterback Landon Ledbetter finished 14-of-16 for 111 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Jay Wilkerson led the Jaguars with three receptions for 30 yards. Banks and Fields added touchdown receptions.
“We played physical up front. We had some offensive lineman that played very physically. There were quite a few areas that we improved. I really happy for these kids and how proud I am of them. They’ve worked so hard and it feels good to work the way they’ve worked to come out here and play the game as well as they did."
Heritage returns to the gridiron Thursday on the road at Fort Worth Clark Stadium to face Fort Worth Benbrook. Kickoff is set for a 7:30 p.m.