American Heritage cornerback Marco Wilson said the Patriots’ goal each game is to force at least three turnovers.
“Our coach says if we get three turnovers there’s no way [the other team is] going to win,” Wilson said.
The Patriots forced three turnovers, blocked a field goal and did something no team has done in at least 12 years Friday night — shut out nationally ranked Don Bosco Prep of Ramsey, New Jersey.
Led by Wilson’s clutch interception of Syracuse commitment and Ironmen quarterback Tommy DeVito on the opening possession of the second half, American Heritage followed its impressive road win at two-time defending Class 6A Georgia state champion Colquitt County last week with a 21-0 blanking of Bosco, which came in ranked 21st nationally by USA Today.
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“After that first [preseason] loss [to USA Today No. 2-ranked Booker T. Washington] we had a lot of things we needed to look into and needed to fix,” said Wilson, a four-star recruit and University of Florida commitment.
“We’ve still got a lot to work on. But we’ve come together as a team and we’ve handled our business these last two games.”
Ranked sixth in the MaxPreps Computer rankings, Heritage (2-0) went backwards on its first possession and had the first punt of the game blocked inside its own 30-yard line.
But Wilson, defensive end Andrew Chatfield and linebacker Willie Hampton went to work on DeVito and Bosco’s offense, limiting the Ironmen to nine first downs, 75 yards passing and only 132 rushing yards total.
Heritage quarterback Jason Brown, who was intercepted twice including in the end zone at the end of the first half, scored on a 48-yard TD run with 4:13 left to play in the first quarter to give the Patriots an early 7-0 lead.
The Patriots held that lead through the first half thanks in part to a stellar interception by safety Will Allen in the end zone early in the second quarter.
The Ironmen (0-1) took the opening kickoff of the second half and marched right down field. But the drive ended when Wilson picked off DeVito inside the Patriots 30.
Two possessions later, Heritage’s Laress Nelson escaped on a 48-yard touchdown run on a jet sweep to put Heritage up 14-0 with 44 seconds remaining in the third.
Heritage running back Abraham Alce, a 6-1, 235-pound junior, then took over in the fourth quarter. He ran for most of his 53 yards in the final period and iced the game with under a minute remaining with a 7-yard TD run.
Heritage ran for 218 yards total.
“I really didn’t do much,” Alce said. “It was the linemen. All I had to do was put my weight on them and that was it.”