#HSFT21 Stop #36 — Heritage Academy Patriots

HEAD COACH: Sean Harrison
Aug 20 Lamar School Away
Aug 27 Jackson Prep Home
Sept 3 East Union Away
Sept 10 Washington School Away
Sept 17 Starkville Academy Home
Sept 24 Bayou Academy Home
Oct 1 Wayne Academy Away
Oct 8 Magnolia Heights Away
Oct 15 Leake Academy Home
Oct 22 Pillow Academy Home


COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) —  The Heritage Academy Patriots have yet to forget how a state championship victory tastes.

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If you ask Heritage Academy head football coach Sean Harrison how often the Pats talk about state, “Every day. There’s no point in playing if you’re not talking about that.”

“Practice. We gotta execute every day, come to practice every day ready to work,” senior ATH Wesley Miller said.”

Coming off the title victory in 2019, Heritage Academy impressed in 2020. Although plenty graduated from that state championship team, Heritage finished last season with an 8-3 overall record and an appearance in the MAIS 5A semifinals.

“A young group that was inexperienced. Learned how to fight every week and came a two-point conversion shy of making it back to a state championship. As much as we return, I think they know what it takes. What more they need to do this year to take that next step,” Harrison said.

The Patriots enter into the upcoming season in an excellent spot. Heritage returns nearly the entire team from 2020, including starting quarterback Mack Howard, who impressed during his first season.

“Really grasped the offense a lot quicker than I thought he would. Now, going into his junior year building on that,” Harrison said.

With the eyes of multiple Division I programs on Howard, the expectations for him remain high. The four-star recruit completed 65-percent of his passes for over 2,400 yards and 26 touchdowns in his sophomore year.

“We knew he had the arm talent. I wasn’t sure how he’d do the first varsity season. He played a little bit as a 9th grader but went out. He had a great year, responded, made mistakes, and never got down about it. Never got too high or too low, which is what you worry about with a sophomore.”

Speed will play a key element with the Patriots this season. Coach Harrison had high praise for his player’s quickness.

“This is probably the fastest team since I’ve been here overall. Really excited about that. To see these guys, we’ve got 8 or 10 that can get out and run. Little depth in the skill position that we haven’t had in awhile,” Harrison said.

“Got good senior leadership and we’re strong, fast,” said senior OG/DL Stephen Matocha. “We’ll be ready for any team.”

The season begins for Heritage against Lamar School on August 20th.

“I need me another ring forreal,” Miller said.

“We need to hit hard, play fast right off the ball. Start well and finish well too,” Matocha said.


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