Greg Bryant runs for two TDs as American Heritage routs Atlantic 29-0
Friday, August 31, 2012
by Matt Porter
For American Heritage, everything old is new again.
The Stallions have a new head coach and several new players, but the defending Class 3A state champions showed enough mettle to beat cross-town rival Atlantic 29-0.
"I'm new here, but I felt it," senior linebacker Evan Harvey said. "We knew we had to come out and do our thing."
Harvey, who transferred from Dwyer, adjusted quickly in his first game for Heritage. He was part of a defense that allowed 8 yards on the ground and sacked Atlantic quarterback Jay Mentecky five times. Seniors Roderick Johnson (1 � sacks), Giancarlo Bennardo, Josh Holley and Ronald Bell (1/2) and sophomore Rondarian Bell put Mentecky on his back.
Heritage's offensive line, which struggled in a nationally televised kickoff classic loss, did enough against a strong Atlantic front. Senior Greg Bryant fought his way to 95 yards and two touchdown runs on 17 carries. Stallions quarterback Marcus Davis was 4-for-8 for 62 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown pass. That went to 6-foot-5 senior tight end Isaac Leon and put Heritage up 7-0 after a first-quarter drive.
"The first five minutes are so emotional," said Heritage coach Stacey Sizemore, who replaced Doug Socha in July. "We set the tone early."
The rest of the offense came from the leg of senior kicker Greg Joseph, who had field goals of 31, 36 and 32 yards.
Neither coach was pleased with his team's conditioning. Before the game, Atlantic coach Chris Bean worried about his Eagles' readiness after a two-practice week, thanks to Tropical Storm Issac. Heritage was able to get on the field for three sessions.
Atlantic's offensive line looked sluggish all game. The defense was out of gas by the end. Mentecky scrambled around for most of the game, completing 8-of-15 passes for 97 yards and two interceptions.
Injuries and cramps were a problem, too. Players were dropping constantly throughout, with Atlantic senior Marcus Gaskin departing with a right knee injury. Bean believed he could miss several weeks.
"(Conditioning) was a big factor, along with discipline and the crazy things we did to kill our flow," Bean said. "A lot of things went wrong."
Heritage senior Roderick Johnson, its highly recruited, two-way tackle, left the game twice with lower-body injuries. The second time, he was helped off by two teammates. Syracuse commit Tyler Provo, a senior H-back, didn't suit up thanks to an ankle injury.
Penalties also hurt Atlantic, which drew nine flags and was penalized 80 yards. Senior tight end Sam Kelley was ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct in the first quarter. Both he and Bean claimed they didn't know that Kelley had been given a warning.
American Heritage's Greg Bryant jumps over teammate Tirez Gunn as he runs with the ball Friday against Atlantic. Bryant rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns as the Stallions beat the Eagles 29-0.