The Plantation American Heritage football team ran for 343 yards Friday night.
The final five yards meant the most to the Patriots, as 4-5, 90-pound senior Adam Reed gained them on two carries to close out a 41-20 victory over Coconut Creek at Heritage Field.
“It was complete jubilation for us because we’ve been waiting to get him into a game and get him the ball,” Heritage coach Mike Rumph said after the game. “As you saw out there, Adam is fearless and this is just another day at the office for him. Tonight, those 5 yards are bigger than the other .”
Reed, a 17-year-old who made the varsity team this season, entered the game last week against Miami Northwestern but did not get the ball. Friday’s carries were the first of his career. The Patriots and even rival Creek fans cheered as they saw Reed enter the game and run the ball.
Reed swept right and was stopped for a yard on his first carry. On his second carry as time expired, Reed took the handoff and cut up field for 4 yards before being stopped by a much larger opposing lineman.
Rumph said he believed Reed became the shortest player to ever carry the ball in a varsity football game.
“Adam just likes being a part of the team,” Rumph said. “He doesn’t crave the spotlight. He shows up and runs with us every day in practice.”
Reed’s entrance capped a dominant performance by Heritage (3-1, 1-0 in district), which began its rough District 16-5A schedule by containing one of the state’s most explosive offenses.
Heritage’s defense sacked Coconut Creek quarterback Jhakari Harrison nine times and intercepted him twice. Harrison completed 18 of 30 passes for 279 yards and threw three touchdown passes.
Two of them came in the first half and helped even the score at 14.
Following his 63-yarder to Akai Rainford and a 59-yard interception return by Theostene Lewis, Harrison found Binjimen Victor for a 10-yard touchdown pass. It was the first of two touchdown connections between the two top-flight recruits.
But Heritage’s offensive line set the tempo throughout the contest, allowing its running game to continuously put together long drives.
Junior quarterback Jason Brown showed his versatility by running for 134 yards on 14 attempts and two early touchdowns that gave Heritage a 14-0 lead. Brown later threw two touchdown passes to help the Patriots score 27 unanswered points and pull away for good. Brown completed 8 of 13 passes for 134 yards, throwing the two touchdown passes and two interceptions.
“We know what Jason can do,” Rumph said. “In the preseason, people questioned what he can do, but we stayed quiet because we didn’t want to let people know how good he can be. He’s a tough kid and we knew he could run the ball and throw the ball.”
Senior Khalil Herbert ran for 92 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown and junior Kyshaun Bryan had 58 yards on 10 carries.
The rest was up to an aggressive defense that has been the backbone of Heritage’s successful start to the season.
Sophomore Andrew Chatfield had three sacks, senior defensive end Brian Burns had 2 1/2 sacks, and Bradley Clement had one.
Sophomore cornerback Patrick Surtain, the son of the former Miami Dolphins Pro Bowl defensive back of the same name, delivered the blow that broke the game open early in the third quarter as he broke to the ball, intercepted a Harrison pass to the far sideline and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown. He and senior Walter Eugene each had interceptions, and Eugene also had a fumble recovery.
“We really wanted to make a statement to the rest of the teams in this district,” Burns said. “We had to contain Harrison from what we saw on film and this defensive line needed to lead the way. We’re playing against the best offense out there in practice so we just want to dominate every game.”