Heritage QB Darius Price lets it fly (Photo: Joe Barnes/recruit757)
Heritage-Bethel Preview: Hurricanes looking to host regional quarterfinal matchup, Bethel could be the difference
by Brandon Mitchell, recruit757
Bethel (2-7) vs. Heritage (5-3) 2:00 p.m. Saturday at Todd Stadium, Newport News
We hear a certain type of verbiage every season throughout multiple sports near the end of the season. Many teams are fighting for position across several classifications and these last two weeks could be the difference between sitting home in mid-November and playing for a state championship. Some are already in the playoffs and are trying to make sure they’re in the proper position to host a few opponents before getting into the higher stages. Heritage is one of those programs. Region 4A looks to be set with just two weeks left to play in the regular season.
Lafayette, Lake Taylor, Warhill, Heritage, Deep Creek, King’s Fork, Churchland and Smithfield look to be the top eight teams heading to the playoffs. However, Heritage and Deep Creek appear to be all locked up with an official power rating of 24.25. There’s nothing wrong with having the fourth of fifth seed is there? Well, it depends on which seed you hold. Whoever finishes with the fourth seed gets to host a region quarterfinal matchup at home while the fifth seed will find themselves warming up the buses.
That’s the predicament the Hurricanes find themselves in and that’s why this week’s battle with Bethel is so important. Heritage has made it to post-season play for the last six-consecutive seasons. Three times they’ve hosted home-openers in the playoffs and have been able to dust all three opponents in King’s Fork, Churchland and Denbigh.
Bethel has the chance to play spoiler, but will they be able to come together and sustain the momentum they picked up last week after defeating Denbigh? Knocking off the Patriots isn’t a true indicator of where weight is being distributed based on their inability to challenge any team they’ve faced this season. Nevertheless, a win is a win and no win should be downplayed regardless of the opponent. With that being said, there will be a lot on the line for the Bruins when they matchup with the Hurricanes on Saturday.
If Bruins’ head football coach William Beverley didn’t think things could get worse after the conclusion of last year, this football season is definitely proving him wrong. With their most recent loss to Woodside two weeks ago, the Bruins are now up to seven losses on the season which ties for the most losses Bethel has accrued under Coach Beverley in a football season. However, a win over Heritage could take away some of the sting associated with this football season. Contrary to what the last two seasons have indicated, Coach Beverley holds a favorable record in the Peninsula District over the last four seasons. Beverley holds winning records against Menchville, Denbigh and Heritage throughout his tenure at Bethel which is why a victory over the Hurricanes won’t be that much of a shock if the Bruins are able to pull it off.
Bethel Key Players: Jaquan Pinson (2019 DB 5-8 160), Tyra Brewington-Parker (2019 RB 6-0 185), Jackson Griffiths (2020 C 6-1 260), De’Vonte Yates (2019 ATH 5-8 180) and Donovan Riley (2019 ATH 6-0 150).
This past week was a remarkable week for a quartet of Bruins’ football prospects. Donovan Riley, Jaquan Pinson and Tyra Brewington-Parker all picked up their first collegiate offer from Bluefield College. De’Vonte Yates is a little further ahead as he notched his third collegiate offer from Culver-Stockton after picking up his second from Clark just four days prior. All four prospects are some of the best the Bruins have to offer on both sides of the ball.
The key is being able to put it all together for a full 48 minutes of football. If you take a look at the Bruins schedule, you’ll notice that four of their seven losses have come by nine points or less. They’ve blown more chances than they’ve taken advantage of, but Coach Beverley will want to make sure that Bethel finishes their final game of the season on a proper note. The Bruins offense has been able to muster only 13 points per contest this season hitting the 20-point plateau just three times. This could bode well against a Heritage program giving upwards of 20 points per contest to opposing offenses.
Heritage Key Players: Darius Price (2019 QB 6-0 185), Jaylen Givens (2021 WR 6-0 150), Jeremiah Washington (2019 WR/DB 5-10 153), Keyon Mitchell (2019 WR/LB 5-9 160), Roderick Webb (2020 SB/DB 5-10 165) and Trevon Faison (2019 RB/DB 5-7 155).
Heritage starting quarterback gets the nod over Chris Daniels as the top quarterback in the Peninsula District and over the years there’s been some talented ones to grace us. Since taking over for Jeremiah Boyd last season he’s combined to post double-digit wins during his time as a starter. However, Price wouldn’t be who he is without an impressive cast of prospects hailing from 5800 Marshall Avenue. Trevon Faison has proved to be one of the most trustworthy running backs for Coach George Massenburg on the Hurricanes roster.
Jeremiah Washington and Roderick Webb bring two-way capability on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball which has aided in the Hurricanes scoring over 20 points per contest. This bunch is a group you really have to keep tabs on because you never know which direction the game will flow in. We could see the Heritage program that knocked off Denbigh 34-12, or we could see the Heritage program that was drubbed by Woodside 26-7.
Keys to the Game: For Bethel it’s all about hanging around long enough to be able to put something substantial together in the fourth quarter. The Hurricanes 34-16 loss to Warhill can be chalked up to early season jitters. However, losses to Woodside and Kecoughtan spell a different story for the Hurricanes.
Heritage hung around for three quarters against Woodside before the Wolverines exploded in the fourth quarter with 20 points to walk out of Todd Stadium with the 26-7 victory. James Mozelle returned a kickoff 77 yards for the game-winning touchdown against Heritage on October 6 that proved to be enough for a 22-19 Kecoughtan win. If the victory is there for the taking on Saturday, then the Bruins need to jump on it. The season may be lost for Bethel, but it doesn’t mean their heart can’t found one more time before wrapping up the regular season. For Heritage, it’s simple. Win on Saturday and your chances of hosting a regional quarter-final playoff game are all but solidified. It doesn’t get much easier than that, right?
– Brandon Mitchell