VERO BEACH — Any major concerns about Vero Beach High School’s offense after the spring should be put to rest after Friday’s Kickoff Classic game.
The Fighting Indians’ balanced attacked racked up 442 yards of total offense and four different players scored in Vero Beach’s 31-13 win over Heritage in the Citrus Bowl.
“I thought we were flying around pretty well, moving around pretty well,” Vero Beach coach Lenny Jankowski said. “We have a lot of things to clean up, but I’m fairly pleased for this point in the season. I thought the offensive line played really well.”
Vero Beach lost to state-ranked W.T. Dwyer 26-7 in the spring game, turning the ball over five times and struggling with blocking assignments.
It was a different story Friday.
“This was a lot better than the spring game,” said Vero Beach senior quarterback Mike Dean, who threw for 189 yards and a touchdown. “The offensive line played outstanding. I can’t give enough credit to those guys They worked so hard during the summer and came together They were so mad. This was a prove it game for them and they definitely did that.”
Vero Beach running back Akeem Dixon capped the opening drive of the game with a 17-yard run and Jeremiah Pearson added a 9-yard scoring run midway through the first quarter. Pearson finished with 98 rushing ayards and 67 receiving yards.
The Fighting Indians were pushing for another score late in the first quarter, but fumbled and Heritage’s Rashard Farmer took it 95 yard for a touchdown. It was as close as Heritage would get though.
Vero Beach added two second-quarter touchdowns and a field goal before Heritage running back Aramion Gaines scored on a 27-yard run.
“We’re just trying to get some confidence,” Heritage coach Mark Ainsley said of his young team. “As we play we’re just going to get better. Going from playing Saturday morning to Friday night is a big jump, but we don’t have time for them to learn how to swim. We threw them in a big pool. Vero Beach is a good team.”
Vero Beach hosts Santaluces in the regular season opener next week; Heritage plays Merritt Island at home in their first game.
Vero Beach 31, Heritage 13
Top performers: Heritage: Rashard Farmer returned a fumble 95 yards for a touchdown; Vero Beach: Three different players rushed for touchdowns including Akeem Dixon (17 yards), Jeremiah Pearson (9 yards) and Devonte Jones (5 yards).
Key play: Devonte Jones’ 5-yard TD run just before the half gave Vero Beach an insurmountable 28-6 lead at the break.
Next week: Merritt Island at Heritage 7 p.m.; Santaluces at Vero Beach, 7 p.m.
Heritage 6 0 0 7 – 13
Vero Beach 14 14 0 3 – 31
VB: Akeem Dixon 17 run (Adam Yurigan kick), 10:161st Quarter
VB: Jeremiah Pearson 9 run (Adam Yurigan kick), 7:37
H: Rashard Farmer 95 fumble return (kick blocked), :38
VB: Ian Peterson 8 pass from Mike Dean (Adam Yurigan kick), 2:47
VB: Devonte Jones 5 run (Adam Yurigan kick), 1:50
VB: Adam Yurigan 21 FG, 4:39
H: Amarion Gaines 27 run (Aiden Clark kick), 2:52