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Peyton Powers Through

Governor back’s lone score proves enough against Heritage













William Blount quarterback Reed Daniels makes the give to Peyton Otis. Photos by G.W. Meredith

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

Heritage didn’t lose. William Blount won.

Heritage quarterback R.T. Byrd lets go with the pass.

The distinction was important for both teams in a bare-knuckle bruiser Friday night at James D. Lillard Field.

Governor strongman Peyton Otis powered in standing up for a 9-yard score with a minute to play in the third, and William Blount withstood a trio of Mountaineer drives over the final quarter to emerge with a 7-0 win in front of a packed house.

The game-winning drive covered 61 yards in 10 plays, all 10 plays on the ground and up the gut.

“They were doing a great job covering the edge,” Otis said, “so we said, ‘Let’s try them up the middle, big on big.”

Worked like a charm.

“We felt like if we could move the chains, not shoot ourselves in the foot and get a stop, we could win the game,” William Blount coach Justin Ridge said.

Heritage (1-3, 0-2 District 4AAA) snapped a 20-game losing streak with a 99-yard, game-winning drive in the closing minutes last week at Seymour. After the Otis score, the Mountaineers looked ready to reprise the heroics, mounting drives to Governor 34-, 29- and 10-yard lines in the fourth quarter.

William Blount (2-2, 1-1), looking to return to winning ways after two-game skid, was up to the challenge each time. Mountaineer quarterback R.T. Byrd was stopped at the line on a fourth-and-3 sneak at the 10 with 2:33 remaining.

Otis tries to maintain his footing as Schuyler LaRue closes for the tackle.

With Otis, 160 yards, 19 carries, on the William Blount sideline with cramps by that point, Governor quarterback Reed Daniels took matters into his own hands to close it out, carrying three times for a first down to allow the Governors to take a knee.

Where Otis was the night’s offensive star for the Governors, former backfield counterpart Devin Fair and fellow linebackers Cody Gregory and Michael Harris are due equaling billing for his play on the defensive side of the ball.

“We gave the game ball to the defense,” Daniels said.

Injuries to his linebacking corps forced Ridge to loan Fair to the defense this week. Fair’s play in the closing minutes proved pivotal.

With the Mountaineers in second-and-4 at the Governor 11 with time waning, Fair slipped into the Heritage backfield to drop Mountaineer fullback Orlando Bledsoe for a 2-yard loss. On fourth-and-3 at the 10 two plays later, Harris jammed the middle of the line to stop Byrd for no gain.

Bledsoe topped 100 yards rushing for the third consecutive week, finishing with 120 on 19 tough carries.

Gregory had the fourth quarter’s other big stop. Heritage confronted second-and-11 at the William Blount 30 with over eight minutes remaining. Gregory’s blitz dropped Byrd for a 11-yard loss to force a fourth-and-22.

Both teams had their chances at an early advantage in the opening half.

Heritage running back Brandon Cutler looks for the corner.

The Mountaineers marched 52 yards in 10 plays to fourth-and-3 at the Governor 25 with seven minutes to play in the half. A Gregory interception put out the threat for William Blount. Heritage was aided by three Governor offside penalties on the drive. William Blount would be penalized seven times in quarter, aiding in a shaking first half.

“He (Ridge) told us (at halftime) to just calm down and play football,” Otis said.

Brett Blue recovered a Heritage fumble at the Mountaineer 41 with three minutes to play in the half. Heritage cornerback Brandon Cutler picked off a Daniels pass in the end zone three plays later.

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