BY Wendell Womack
Braces, band-aids, and bruises did not stop the battered Patriots from giving it their all-last Friday night at Columbus, where Winston lost to the Heritage Patriots in a district game, 24-19.
Coming into the game with several starters on the sidelines in braces, and several on the field in braces, the Patriots scored on their first possession on a 14-yard run by quarterback, Jesse Boydstun.
Bailey Smith’s point after kick put Winston on top 7-0 with 8 seconds left in the first quarter.
Heritage answered right back on the following possession to tie the game at 7-7. After a Winston punt, Heritage went ahead on a 38-yard field goal with 7:16 left before half. After a following Winston punt, the Patriot defense made the first of their fourth down conversion stops at the Winston 9-yard line with a few seconds left before halftime.
Winston would then come out to start the second half trailing 10-7, and regain the lead on another Boydstun 30-yard touchdown run. The 2-point conversion pass failed but Winston was back on top 13-10 with 9:41 left in the third quarter of play. Heritage quickly went back on top with a 20-yardscoring pass and PAT to take the lead back with a 17-13 score. The Patriots then found the going hard as they were denied the needed yardage on a fourth down attempt at the Heritage 28-yard line. Heritage then marched the distance to build their lead to 24-13 on another touchdown pass from 49-yards out with PAT to follow on the last play of the third quarter. Winston picked up right where they left off as Boydstun added his third score of the night on a 13-yard run with 10:10 remaining in the contest. The 2-point conversion attempted failed, but the Patriot’s had cut the Heritage lead to 24-19.
Winston’s good luck break then came with 2:08 left on the clock when Dawson Bradford recovered a fumble at the Winston 35-yard line.
Starting at their own 35-yard line with one last chance to take the hopeful go ahead and winning score the distance, the Heritage defense arose to the occasion and denied the first down yardage to take over on downs and run the clock down to earn their win. Although the loss sent the Patriots to 1-7 on the year and 0-2 in district play, it was probably the most balanced running attack of the year as two Patriots rushed for over 100 yards.
Quarterback Jesse Boydstun led the charge with 159-yards on 14 carries, and 3 touchdowns. He was followed by Hunter McElroy, who has been on the sidelines for the past 3 games with a knee injury. He had his best showing of the year with 135-yards on 22 carries.
Defensively, the Patriots had several players that had a big night. Sam Ferguson, Isaac Keen, and Peyton McCool each finished with 9 tackles, followed by Richard Woodruff, Clark Graham, and Austin Blaine each recorded 5 stops. Dawson Bradford pulled in a fumble recovery.
So, as the Patriots travel to Bay Springs this week to take on Sylva Bay, they will again arrive battered and banged up, but should also take the determined attitude into the contest that they just displayed. Game time is set for 7:00.