The Pittsburg football team used two key second-half turnovers to pull away from Heritage en route to a 35-16 victory last week.
Pittsburg (2-0) led only led 14-10 at halftime but then converted a third-quarter Devon Rivers fumble into an eventual 35-yard score on fourth and 18 to go up 21-10. Pittsburg's Julian Velasco picked off Heritage quarterback Asher Haynes for a 30-yard pick-six on the Patriots' ensuing drive, putting Pittsburg comfortably ahead 28-10 late in the third quarter.
Rivers’ 22-yard jaunt pulled Heritage to within 28-16 midway through the fourth quarter, but Keionte Guess’ 8-yard TD catch on the Pirates’ next drive put Pittsburg up 35-16 to ice the game.
Senior Pirate quarterback Eli Brickhandler completed 12 of 15 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns, and senior running back Daytuawn Pearson carried the ball 18 times for 141 yards and one touchdown — a 30-yard score on the Pirates’ first play from scrimmage.
“They threw a really nice touchdown on fourth and what felt like forever, and we turned around and threw the pick-six after that. Then we were kind of behind the eight-ball,” said Heritage head coach Dave Fogelstrom . “But I am proud of the way our kids played, and now they know they can hang with anyone.”
Coming off impressive one-sided victories over Granada and Deer Valley to start the season, Heritage went blow-for-blow with the perennial power Pittsburg in the first half.
Pearson’s 30-yard jaunt almost immediately put the Pirates on top 7-0, but senior Patriot Jaden Price’s 25-yard catch-and-run late in the first quarter tied the game at seven.
Will Stallings Jr’s 2-yard run put Pittsburg up 14-7 midway through the second, before Heritage’s Tanner Hartwig connected on a 31-yard field goal to bring Heritage within 14-10 late in the second quarter.
Despite the key second-half miscues, Fogelstrom said his squad showed grit throughout.
“We just wanted to send a message to our kids that we want them to play four straight quarters of football,” Fogelstrom said.
Heritage’s Haynes finished with 161 yards through the air for the Patriots, while Rivers led the Heritage ground game with 84 yards.