By DOUG GORMAN
When the Heritage Hawks take the field Friday night at home against Loganville Christian, a GISA Region 1-AAA title will be on the line.
Heritage (7-2, 2-0) enters the contest against Loganville Christian (4-5, 2-0) having won three of its last four games.
The Hawks’ only losses have come against defending GISA champion Valwood and Tiftarea.
Second-year Heritage head coach Micah Alba traces the team’s success back to December when the Hawks began their off-season workouts.
“ Starting way back in December after last season ended these guys have done a great job in the weight room and conditioning. It’s really shown up. As I have seen games, I have watched our team be able to finish in the fourth quarter,” Alba said.
The Hawks began the season with four-straight wins, beating Terrell Academy (36-10), Flint River Academy (41-3), Creekside Christian (55-12) and Deerfield Windsor (21-8) in games that weren’t close.
The second year under Alba’s watch has also been about buying into his program.
“They play hard. They have had a high effort each game we have gone into,” he said. “That’s what we talk about. It’s about effort and execution and they have done both of those really well. We are right where we want to be playing for a region championship.”
Should the Hawks win Friday night’s game and earn the region title, they will also secure a bye in the first round of the playoffs as well as home field advantage until the state title.
“That would be huge,” Alba said. “Getting that bye in the first round and knowing we are going to be at home would be really big.”
Heritage has outscored its opponents 261-145.
Quarterback Henry Arnall has passed for nearly 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Peter Nell, Brandon Scruggs and Branch Burns have been Arnall’s top receivers.
Andrew Rich has been the go-to-guy out the backfield and comes into the game as Hawks’ leading rusher.
Loganville Christian comes into the contest have been outscored its opponents 237-287.
The Lions are averaging 173 yards on the ground and just 88 through the air
“They are always well coached, and they have some good athletes out there,” Alba said. “They have some guys who can really run around out there and make plays on both sides of the ball, but we really just need to worry more about us.”
This will be the fifth meeting in the series with Heritage holding a 3-1 lead.