KNIGHTDALE — Heritage witnessed the speed of Knightdale but caught a break when it would have hurt the most and held on to top the Knights 23-22 on Friday.
The break came in the form of a holding call that nullified what would have been a 71-yard rushing score by Knightdale quarterback Marquavious Johnson. It would have put the Knights up by at least 5 points nearing 2 minutes left in the game.
"They have incredible speed and it worries every coach that has to face them," Huskies coach Jason McGeorge said of the Knights. "We got the play called back and the kids got a chance to keep going, but the game wasn't one play. It was a back-and-forth game and with two very good teams."
Heritage (2-1) scored first as Matt Sattler punched in a 22-yard field goal with 3 minutes left in the first quarter.
Two plays later, Eric Thornton intercepted a Johnson pass and set Heritage up with a drive starting at the Knightdale 32 yard line. Greg Clifton made it count with a 10-yard touchdown run on the second play of the second quarter. Sattler hit the extra point to give the Huskies a 10-0 lead.
Knightdale (2-1) got its first points from a 28-yard screen pass from Johnson to his brother, Marcell Johnson, with a minute left in the first half. Taylor Betts' extra point attempt squared the upright, leaving the Huskies up 10-6 at the break.
The Knights were held to just 11 yards rushing in the first half, but their running woes ended on the first drive of the third quarter.
Nate Harvey trucked in from 38 yard out and Chris Malone's 2-point conversion got the Knights back on track and with a 14-10 lead. On the next drive, a Justin Blango interception of a pass by Huskies quarterback set up a 1-yard score by Marquavious Johnson, who added a 2-point conversion to put Knightdale up 22-10.
It took Heritage less than two minutes to march back into the red zone and score on fourth down on a 12-yard strike from Walters to Jalen Parson. Sattler's extra point cut Knightdale's lead to 22-17.
The Huskies got the winning score after Justin Nwachukwu intercepted a Johnson screen pass at the midway point of the fourth quarter and returned it to the Knights' 35 yard line. Walters again targeted Parson for a 37-yard touchdown pass over the middle. A 2-point attempt by Heritage failed.
Johnson fumbled while scrambling under pressure and the Knights recovered but turned the ball over on downs with less than a minute to play. With no timeouts left for Knightdale, Heritage was able to burn the clock for the win.