Star-spangled victory for Jags

Defensive scoop-and-score sparks HHS to hard-fought win at Kennedale

Mirror report
Heritage High School football players stand for the national anthem before Friday night's non-district game at Kennedale.

KENNEDALE — In a defensive deadlock in the first half, perhaps it was appropriate that a defensive touchdown would break the ice.

Preparation met opportunity for Heritage High School’s Temerick Johnson, who scooped a Kennedale fumble and returned it 41 yards for a score in the second quarter. The play sparked the red-white-and-blue-clad Jaguars, who went on to a 22-7 victory on Friday night at Wildcat Stadium to improve to 2-0.

Dressed in their jerseys in American colors with "USA" on the front, the Jags made quite an impressive sight.

Jason Barela rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries and added five receptions for 45 yards, and quarterback Kaden Brown threw a scoring pass to TJ Pride, who wound up with four catches for 82 yards. Brown finished 11-of-20 for 138 yards.

The Jag defenders shined all night long, as Greg Johnson posted a total of 13 tackles, Solomon Hopkins 11 and Sam Sinclair 10. Hopkins recovered a fumble and had a hand in both Wildcat turnovers.

The teams traded possessions through the first quarter, and the dogfight spilled over into the second quarter. But that changed in an instant, when Kennedale quarterback Paul Donkor was sacked by Hopkins and lost his grip on the ball. Johnson scooped it up and scored, putting the Jags on top 7-0 after Dylan Riggins’ extra point.

The HHS defense stopped the Wildcats on downs and finally got some offense going. After four straight Barela runs netted a total of 29 yards, Brown passed to Pride for a 36-yard touchdown, then Stetson Sarratt ran in the 2-point conversion late in the second quarter giving the Jags a 15-0 advantage at the half.

Heritage opened the second half with possession and chewed up nearly six minutes of clock, with Barela taking it in from the 2-yard line for a 22-0 lead. That was all the scoring the Jags needed.

Kennedale (1-1) averted a shutout early in the fourth quarter when EJ Higgins scored on a 27-yard run.

The Jags return to action within the friendly confines of MISD Multipurpose Stadium this Friday at 7 p.m. against Decatur. The Eagles (1-1) are coming off a 21-7 loss to the very same Wildcats in the season-opener and a 27-14 win at Alvarado last Friday.