It was a slippery slope for Heritage High in Friday’s Cap-8 Conference opener against Leesville Road.
In a scoreless and rainy first quarter where both teams combined for 22 yards, the Huskies slipped up with two turnovers. They finished with five: four interceptions and a lost fumble.
Next, they slid to a 16-point deficit.
The hosts couldn’t gain traction in their 30-0 shutout loss to the Pride, who started converted wide receiver Cooper Eason-Riddle for the second straight game.
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He finished seven of 20 passes for 34 yards. He rushed for an additional 95 yards on 17 carries, dominating up the middle as the Huskies slipped to a 2-3 overall record after its first conference loss.
“Our offensive line did a tremendous job for these guys running the ball,” Leesville Road coach Brad Wilson said. “We’ve been pushing for that and it came through. I’ll take any win right now, and I’m proud of these kids.
“We’re just going to keep building.”
Eason-Riddle was responsible for each Pride touchdown, rushing for three and tossing one to sophomore receiver Landon Choboy.
Leesville Road (2-3, 1-0 Cap-8) finished 0-of-4 on third-down conversions in the opening quarter. They used two to keep alive a Pride scoring drive in the second.
Eason-Riddle handed the ball off to senior running back Dustin Leak for a 19-yard gain to convert third-and-five, which led to Eason-Riddle’s second score to give the Pride a 16-0 halftime edge.
“I didn’t really know what to expect,” Eason-Riddle said of playing quarterback. “When I got out there and played with my boys, I just got into the game and I loved it.”
Leesville Road dominated the clock after the break, as the Huskies’ first possession of the third quarter lasted only 24 seconds following a Colton Murray interception.
The Pride strung together a 63-yard scoring drive, strengthened by Eason-Riddle’s bursts through the middle.
After a pass fell incomplete on a Huskies fourth down with 8:56 showing, they wouldn’t touch the ball for the rest of the game.
Heritage coach Dewayne Washington said he told his players “not to dwell in self pity. If they can truly trust in the process of where we’re trying to go, they have to know and understand that they’re going to get some scabs on their backs and today was a deep scab, no question about it.”
Jessika Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan