Hitting the ground running: Jags finish strong against Class 5A Everman
Heritage’s new-look lineup finds success in season-opening victory
Whatever question marks the Heritage High School brain trust may have had about their new starting lineup was answered in plentiful fashion during the second half on Friday night.
Sure, it took almost a full half for the Jaguars to work out some kinks. But the Jags regained the lead for good right before halftime and then pulled away from the Class 5A Everman Bulldogs for a 50-23 conquest at MISD Multipurpose Stadium.
Junior quarterback Kaden Brown had a sensational debut as the Jags’ signal-caller. Brown accounted for five touchdowns, completing 15 of 24 pass attempts for 187 yards and three TDs while carrying 13 times for 118 yards and two scores.
Junior Jason Barela rushed for a team-high 135 yards and a touchdown and also caught a TD pass from Brown; junior Xavier Moten caught four passes for 90 yards and two TDs; and junior Mason O’Neal ran for a TD as well.
On defense, junior Rylan Figueroa led the team with seven tackles, intercepted a pass and returned a fumble recovery 45 yards. Greg Johnson, Brandon Thomas and Luke Howard each also recovered a fumble, and Greg Johnson and Temerrick Johnson each blocked a field goal for the Jags.
The game — and the season — couldn’t have gotten off to much of a worse start for HHS. On Everman’s first play from scrimmage, Everman’s Jarion Basped ran 73 yards for a touchdown and a quick 6-0 lead.
After the PAT was blocked, the Jags answered for a 7-6 lead on Brown’s 10-yard pass and Dylan Riggins’ extra point. But the Bulldogs drove for a field goal, then after an HHS turnover on downs, Basped completed a 73-yard pass to Jemyri Davis to put Everman on top 16-7 with 10:32 left in the second quarter.
That’s where the Jags finally caught a spark. They drove 55 yards, and O’Neal punched it in from the 1 to bring HHS back to within 16-15 after Brown kept for the 2-point conversion. Late in the half, a fumble recovery gave the Jags a chance to go into the locker room with the upper hand, and Brown hit Moten for a 45-yard play and Heritage led, 23-16.
The second half was almost all Jags as they took command with four more touchdowns. Brown closed out the opening drive with a 3-yard run, then he called his own number again for a score. Barela added a 9-yard TD run and Brown found Moten again from the 13 to close out the night.
The Jags return to action this Friday with a non-district contest at Kennedale’s Wildcat Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.