But as the inexperienced Patriots proved last Friday, experience doesn't automatically lead to gridiron greatness.
Jeremy Beasley ran for 130 yards and the upstart Heritage Patriots (3-1, 2-1 BVAL) held Deer Valley (2-2, 0-2) to just 178 total yards, as the Patriots got back into the win column with a big 17-14 victory over the defending BVAL champion Wolverines.
Heritage quarterback Kyle Golinveaux threw for 146 yards, completing 13 of 26 passes including a 5-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Anthony Carral with 5:40 to go in the fourth quarter, to reclaim the lead and secure the Patriot win.
After allowing a 77-yard scoring drive to put Deer Valley up 7-0 on its first possession of the game, the Patriots regained their composure and held the Wolverines to only 101 yards of total offense the rest of the game.
Trailing 7-3 at halftime, the Patriots marched down the field on the first drive of the second half to take the lead on a 42-yard touchdown run by Beasley with 9:42 to go in
the third quarter.
But Heritage penalties, combined with a special-team miscue, kept Deer Valley in the
game. After 30 yards of penalties on two separate plays, Zach Broulliard's punt was blocked by Demar Gains, setting up Deer Valley's only other score of the game, a 5-yard run by Devin Le'Gall, which put the Wolverines up 14-10 with 5:04 to go in the third quarter.
Heritage responded by driving 57 yards, 28 of which came on a nice run by Beasley, to set up the go-ahead touchdown.
Beasley had a superb second half, rushing for 103 yards to fuel the Patriot comeback. Fellow running back Anthony Jackson chipped in with 55 yards on 12 carries.
Heritage tight end Greg Howard, who came in with only six receptions on the season, doubled that number, racking up 59 yards on six catches. The 6-foot, 4-inch receiving threat simply overmatched the Deer Valley defense.
"I am very proud of them," said Heritage head Coach Jeff Haagenson. "Just the way they fight. They don't get down. They have a real businesslike mentality."
The Patriot win, combined with a Freedom loss, means the first-year varsity program remains in a two-way tie with the Falcons for second place in the league behind Ygnacio Valley (4-0, 2-0).
"We played our hearts out and we didn't leave anything on the field," said Beasley. "We're back in it. That is how the BVAL works. Anybody can lose any given game, so we are right back in it."
Heritage returns home Friday, Oct. 5, to host the Antioch Panthers for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. The Panthers come into the contest 3-1 overall and 1-1 in league play following a 21-20 loss to Ygnacio Valley last Saturday.
Correction: In last week's article, "Heritage handed first varsity loss," running back Jeremy Beasley was misidentified as fullback Matt Milam.