2021.09.17 Football: Heritage @ Tuscarora

Leesburg, VA (September 17, 2021) - As the Heritage Pride returned to the field after halftime many players held four fingers in the air. That was an expression of hope and confidence for a season-opening four-game win streak. At the time, they were trailing the Tuscarora Huskies and their Homecoming crowd, 7-0, but they definitely had room for optimism.

Chas Sumser Photography was there to capture the action and emotion and posted a gallery of images from the game.

To get the Huskies on the board in the first half, Bryce Duke scored on a brilliant 35-yard run, but the Pride had kept him mostly in check. And in the third quarter the Heritage game plan was to stop Duke and let the rest of the Tuscarora offense try to beat them.

But Duke is pretty much unstoppable. More on that later.

And the Pride quarterback Braden Smith can pass and wide receiver Kyle Alt can catch. The duo connected on two long touchdowns in the third quarter to give Heritage its first lead of the game, 14-7, the second one coming with just 59 seconds left in the quarter. And just when it looked like the Pride had seized every bit of momentum, Duke took off from his own four-yard line and ran 96 yards to end the period tied, 14-14.

And that's when the fun really started.

With 10:02 remaining in the 4th quarter, the game announcer told everyone that Duke had just amassed 200 yards rushing for the game, so the Husky rusher immediately rocked a 43-yard touchdown run to give Tuscarora the lead, 21-14. 

On the Pride's next possession, Smith mishandled a snap, picked the ball up, and quickly made a short toss to DeShawn Allen who completed the rest of a 90-yard touchdown play. But the extra point attempt failed leaving Tuscarora ahead, 21-20.

The ensuing Huskies possession ended in the second biggest defensive play of the game when the Pride's Jonathan Shea picked off a short Sonny Mannino pass and raced into the end zone to give the lead back to Heritage. They went for two, but failed to convert again.

Trailing, 26-21, Tuscarora handed the ball back to Duke who did not disappoint. He scored again with just 5:34 remaining in the game to put the Huskies back in front, 27-26. They also went for a two-point conversion, but could not convert.

But Heritage was not finished, and Smith completed another long touchdown pass--this time to Emmanuel Darko--to put the Pride back in front 32-27 after the two-point try again failed.

It looked like the game was over with just 0:59 left on the clock, but the Huskies moved the ball efficiently and quickly into Heritage territory gaining a first down on a critical 4th down pass and using the clock wisely. The ball was inside the Pride ten-yard line, when Shea stepped in front of a Tuscarora receiver for his second interception of the night and the biggest defensive play of the game, cementing the huge win for Heritage.

For the Pride, those halftime wishes for 4-0 came true.

Final Score: Heritage 32 - Tuscarora 27

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