“Someone was hurt and came out,” Mixon said. “I needed to step up and make a play.”
Mixon also contributed big-time on the other side of the ball, carrying the offense most of the first half after playmaker Darrell Daniels left with an injury. While the Falcons managed only a single field goal before halftime, Mixon kept the Falcons offense on the field long enough to ensure that Heritage wouldn’t score more than a field goal of its own.
Freedom and Heritage got their offenses cranking in the second half. Daniels returned to score a 46-yard touchdown, and run for another. Not to be left out, Mayes scored on a 65-yard keeper himself. The Patriots offense, however, put up a good fight. Heritage scored on a three-yard run from junior Nick Zalec and a one-yarder from Julian Johnson to close a wild third quarter.
Freedom appeared to ice the game on a 53-yard TD sprint from Mixon, but Heritage responded with a 22-yard scoring strike from Carter to senior receiver Johnny Briseno.
“We were off and on, but I felt that we stepped up when we needed to,” Mayes said. “We stuck to the short game and gave the ball to Joe.”
Not only does the victory usher the Falcons into their bye week on an upbeat note; it gives some of their banged-up players more time to heal. Daniels played for most of the second half, but was clearly not 100 percent. “We’re on bye, baby,” Freedom head coach Kevin Hartwig said. “That’s the biggest adjustment right there. Now we have a week to get healthy.”
The Falcons’ record now stands at 4-2 overall and 1-0 in Bay Valley Athletic League play. When they return to the field in two weeks, they’ll face Pittsburg, which has earned an identical record after beating Liberty 29-8.
Heritage (0-6, 0-1 in the BVAL) will use its bye week to regroup. Despite being winless so far, the Patriots have lost by only a touchdown in three of their six games. The Patriots face an undefeated Antioch team Oct. 12.