American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.) played its way into the Super 25 with a victory against No. 2 IMG Academy (Brandenton) in a kickoff classic game that did not count in the standings, according to the state association, but certainly made everyone take notice.
The defending Florida Class 5A champion Patriots formally opened the season Saturday with a 36-8 victory against Stephenson (Ga.) in the third annual Battle of the Borders in Clarkson, Ga.
And next up is another test against current No. 5 DeMatha Catholic at home in Florida. DeMatha pounded No. 2 Miami Central 38-14 on Saturday.
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Stephenson, coming off an 8-4 season, was somewhat overmatched, especially by an American Heritage defense that forced turnovers and pressured the quarterback. Stephenson was stuck on a safety until it scored a touchdown with 10:24 remaining.
A sneak from quarterback Jason Brown got the Patriots going with 6-0 lead. An interception at midfield set up the next score, a a touchdown by Lares Nelson. Stephenson the safety when the ball was snapped out of the end zone on a safety.
The Patriots closed the scoring in the first half when Tyson Campbell recorded a pick six for a 19-2 lead.
Another miscue by Stephenson set up American Heritage’s next score as the Patriots took over on the 1-yard line following a muffed punt.
American Heritage would later score again on a drive set up by an interception and the game’s final play was an interception to cap off the victory.