American Heritage falls in Class 1A state final
Friday, December 10, 2010
by Jeff Greer
Something was off for American Heritage.
The blocking schemes for the Stallions weren't working. The defensive motion didn't confuse Jacksonville-Trinity Christian's offense.
And at the end of the night, the score reflected that funny feeling. Trinity Christian toppled defending Class 1A champion American Heritage 27-10 at the Citrus Bowl.
American Heritage beat Trinity Christian 30-20 last year in the same championship game.
On Friday, American Heritage coach Doug Socha tried everything, mixing in multiple defensive packages to try to slow down Trinity Christian's Andrew Buie.
Nothing did the trick.
Buie ran for 242 yards and four touchdowns, almost single-handedly carrying Trinity Christian (12-2) to its third state championship in school history.
"Well, No. 1 he's a heck of a player," Socha said of Buie. "No. 2, he's got a great offensive line. At times, we didn't tackle and that hasn't been our defense this year. If (Buie) breaks one tackle, he has a chance to take it for a touchdown every time."
There was a time when American Heritage (10-4) seemed to have solved Buie and his blockers. The Stallions got three consecutive stops during a stretch that spanned part of the second and third quarters.
A 2-yard touchdown run by sophomore Greg Bryant cut Trinity Christian's lead to 13-10 with 5:50 left in the third quarter, but that's when the momentum stopped.
On the ensuing possession, Buie rushed off the right side of his offensive line at the Trinity Christian 46-yard line. American Heritage flowed to the ball, closing off every hole to the right.
Then the senior quarterback cut back and made the Stallions pay for their over-pursuit, taking the ball 54 yards for a back-breaking touchdown.
"We do a pre-game ritual where we get two double cheeseburgers from McDonald's before every game," Buie said. "I did eat my cheeseburgers today.
"Whatever was in those burgers, I need to get some more."
Buie wasn't the only thing that frustrated American Heritage in its attempt to win a third state title in four years. Trinity Christian's defensive line overwhelmed the Stallions early on as well.
American Heritage had 19 total yards of offense on eight plays by the time Trinity Christian led 13-0.
"They pressured us off the line," said senior receiver Herve Coby, tears streaming down his face. "(Quarterback Marcus Davis) didn't have time to do anything."
Davis, who had 1,987 total yards (1,052 passing, 935 rushing) entering the game, was bottled up all night. His pocket regularly collapsed almost instantly in the first few possessions.
When he did have lanes, Trinity Christian's pursuit was too quick. Davis finished 10-of-16 for 128 yards and two interceptions while rushing for just 12 yards.
Held to just 4.2 yards per carry as a team, American Heritage did something it rarely does.
"We started off slow," Socha said.