FFN Countdown Day 4: Heritage War Eagles

heritage1

Coach: Perry Escalante
Conference: 7A/6A-West
2012: 7-4, 4-3
Returning Starters: 7 OFF/8 DEF

2013 Schedule
Sept. 6 at Southside
Sept. 13 at Northisde
Sept. 20 at Harrison
Sept. 27 Siloam Springs
Oct. 4 at Har-Ber
Oct. 11 Fayetteville
Oct. 18 Bentonville
Oct. 25 at Springdale
Nov. 1 Van Buren
Nov. 8 at Rogers

Every year the 7A West in dominated by Bentonville, Fayetteville and Har-Ber. However, if you think back to three years ago, when all these groups of seniors were freshman, it was actually Heritage that won the conference championship as ninth graders.

“This year we’re going to be seniors so we’ve been with it for a while,” said senior quarterback Josh Qualls. “We know what to expect from those guys and this year I feel it’s going to be a bit different.”

“We have them midseason,” said senior running back Brandon Gates. “So we just got to keep using the other games to build up to them and keep getting better.”

A lot has changed since ninth grade football, but one thing heritage has is an experienced senior leader at quarterback in Josh Qualls. He threw for 26 touchdowns last year and the Eagles scored 36 points a game. But the problem was the defense. Those top three teams in the league averaged 52 points on heritage, something the senior leaders take personally.

“I did, a little,” said senior defensive end Colby Isbell. “I don’t want to always rely on offense. I want the defense to be able to make some plays this year.”

The strength of the Heritage team will be the defensive front. Yet it takes more than that to be the best in the 7A West

“A lot of teams are a lot bigger than we are,” said head coach Perry Escalante. “So we just have to be physically fit. We feel like being seniors and having that experience that they learned from the games last year, it’s going to get us over that hump that we’ve been close to getting over. We’re hoping that it will happen for us this year.”

It’ll be a season defined by how Heritage competes with the big boys. It all starts with Southside week one.