Heritage retained possession of the ball for most of the game but its offense didn't find the back of the net until late in the second half. Solid defense by Kolby Willmes and Anthony Weir held the Lions scoreless until the final buzzer. In the 76th minute, Heritage freshman midfielder Garret Hernandez scored the game-winner from a cross pass from freshman forward Eduardo Chavez, sending the Patriot players into a frenzy.
"That boosted our morale tremendously," said new coach Mike Krahnke, who teams up with coach Sash Migay this season. "Already we've made such a turn around from last year."
For Migay and Krahnke, the victory was made even more special given their ties to Liberty. Krahnke helped coach the varsity girls at Liberty for five years with Tony Martins, and the last three years teamed up with Migay to coach the JV boys team.
"Leaving Liberty High was an emotional and a tough decision. But life's path has paved the way for me and Sash to start building a solid program for Heritage High School," Krahnke said. "It was a great opportunity to get my own program."
Migay and Krahnke, who also coach the Bristow Middle School teams, had 83 boys try out for the team this season, after which they selected eight freshman, eight sophomores and just four juniors to wear the Patriot blue and gold.
"That kind of turnout was amazing," Krahnke said. "It was a hard decision but I think we picked the best 20, in our opinion."
Coach Krahnke hired Vincenzo Piazza to run the freshman team, which starts play this week.
"We're excited to have him join us and to keep the boys training for the future success of the program," he said.
On Tuesday the JV Patriots tied with Freedom and are now 1-1-1 on the season. The team travels to play Clayton Valley on Thursday.