CHARLOTTE – Creek Wood defeated White House Heritage 49-27 for an all-important Region 5-4A victory on homecoming Friday night.
But the final score doesn’t do much justice to the real game, as White House Heritage was within one score before a Will Secker score a rushing touchdown to make it 42-27 with three minutes remaining. Danny Stansberry then added his third touchdown of the night to make the final look more lopsided.
Although Creek Wood allowed a season-high 27 points to Heritage, that was the lowest point total the Patriots have scored all season. The Patriots offense averaged over 39 points per game, and they continued with another strong offensive performance against the Red Hawks.
The Patriots compiled 335 yards of total offense compared to Creek Wood’s 384, but the ground game was the real story. The Red Hawks finished with 247 yards rushing on the night, and White House-Heritage finished with 189.
Heritage QB Will Wilson started off the offensive show with a 19-yard run to give the Patriots a 7-0 lead.
That first touchdown would be the only score of the first quarter due to two fumbles - one by each team. Danny Stansberry’s first touchdown of the night came on an 11-yard rush where he broke several tackles and reached the ball out over the goal line. Soon after, Heritage’s Jackson Mapes ran in for what would be the first of two touchdowns on the night. That gave the Patriots a 14-7 advantage.
Elijah Donaldson would answer for Creek Wood and get in the end zone on a quarterback keeper from 11 yards out, but the extra point was blocked.
After a big fumble recovery from Zach Bone, the Red Hawks marched back down and threw the ball up to Sam Batey, who reeled in a touchdown catch to give Creek Wood a 20-14 lead with only 22 seconds left in the second quarter.
“It’s really fun, I’m lucky enough to be big enough to do that,” Batey said. “I’ve really enjoyed getting out here and playing this year.”
The two teams combined for five total touchdowns in the second quarter, including a 93-yard kick return from Parker Deaton right before halftime.
“I told the guys at halftime that was on me,” Creek Wood coach Houston Thiel said. “I had a bad call and put our guys in a bad position. We always talk about they have my back, and I have their back, and in that second half they had my back.”
Creek Wood took the ball at the beginning of the second half and started making their way down the field until an interception by Chance Anderson stopped the Red Hawk momentum. The Patriots found a first down on the first play from scrimmage but turned the ball over back to Creek Wood on the next play.
“I think we played hard, but we turned the ball over too much on offense,” Heritage coach Stetson Dickerson said. “We just turned the ball over too many times to beat a good football team, and Creek Wood has a good football team. If we’re going to go on the road and beat good teams we have to make tackles and take care of the ball, and we didn’t do that.”
Stansberry then ran for his second touchdown of the night, this one from 20 yards out. Secker caught a pass from Elijah Donaldson to complete a two-point conversion and give Creek Wood the 28-21 lead.
The Patriots answered just five minutes later as Mapes powered his way into the end zone for his second touchdown of the night. The extra point was blocked and Creek Wood hung on to a 28-27 lead.
That would be the last time the Patriots scored, though, as Creek Wood would come back to score just two minutes later on a 41-yard pass from Donaldson to Batey. The Red Hawk defense shut out the dynamic Patriot offense in the final quarter.
Heritage fell to 4-3 (1-3 in Region 5-4A) with the loss. The Patriots host White House next Friday.
“I’ve talked about it all week, we have not played a full 48 minutes yet,” Dickerson added. “We’re not good enough to only play 40 minutes and then let eight minutes slide. We have to get back to work Monday and figure out how to put 48 together.”
Creek Wood (6-1, 2-1) will enjoy its open date this week. The Red Hawks travel to White House on Oct. 18. But for at least a few days, they can bask in their homecoming victory.
“It’s been amazing, and this is the last homecoming (game for our seniors),” Bone said. “We had some people go down, and we weren’t sure about this game, but we had guys step up and do big things. We’ve got people working hard and stepping up when they need to.”