White House Heritage quarterback Will Wilson didn’t complete a pass Friday night – heavy rain and a messy field made the aerial attack nearly impossible.

Instead, the junior rushed for a 28-yard touchdown with 3:28 remaining to give Heritage a 19-12 lead over White House. The Patriot defense stopped the Blue Devils on the following drive to win the Rotary Cup game for the first time since 2016.

“It was a big win for Heritage,” Heritage senior Trenton Tuttle said. “For the past two years, we went 1-19. Getting a win over White House feels good. We’re not the little brother (anymore).”

The win was Heritage’s third against White House (the Blue Devils lead the all-time series 4-3). The Patriots also regained control of the series trophy, which is sponsored by the White House Rotary Club.

“Our kids have worked hard,” Heritage coach Stetson Dickerson said. “This is what they deserve. It’s exciting for us and our school. But it’s also big for our community to see that we’re taking small steps. This game was another step in the right direction.”

Heritage junior Jackson Mapes opened the scoring on a 43-yard touchdown run with 2:10 left in the first quarter. White House answered when Ranen Blackburn hit Harrison Autman-Springer with a 56-yard touchdown pass on a fake punt. That tied the score 6-6 with 8:28 left in the second.

Taye Francis later picked off White House QB Caleb Anderson to set up a 1-yard TD run by Mapes with 56 seconds left in the second, giving Heritage a 12-6 advantage at the break.

Blackburn again knotted the score with a 3-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter. Both teams struggled to convert extra points on the slippery field.

The defensive struggle continued until a short White House punt gave Heritage the ball at the Blue Devil 34-yard line with 4:02 remaining. Two plays later, Wilson faked a handoff to Parker Deaton, bounced off a defender and broke free for his decisive touchdown run.

“(White House) is always labeled as the big brother compared our school,” Wilson said. “Being able to beat them is pretty cool. I think this is the best win that we’ve experienced so far. The Portland win (on Sept. 27) was nice, because it was our first region win. But this is a whole new feeling.”

White House had one more chance to answer, but the Heritage defense did its job. A sack by Eli Arnett and back-to-back incompletions from Anderson led to a turnover on downs.

“I feel like our kids went out and played hard for 48 minutes,” Dickerson said. “It was a tough ball game. It was nip and tuck. (White House) made it hard on us.”

Blackburn finished with 121 rushing yards on 25 carries. Colby Taylor led the Blue Devils with 16 tackles, while teammate Joey Soporowski had 11.

Mapes led Heritage with 112 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries. However, White House outgained the Patriots 234-197 in total offense.

Heritage (5-3, 2-3) stayed in the Region 5-4A playoff hunt with the victory. However, the Patriots must beat Montgomery Central on Nov. 1 and hope that one of the other region contenders – Creek Wood, Portland or Springfield – loses two more region games.

“If we had won last week (against Creek Wood), it was all in our hands,” Dickerson said. “From this point forward, we have to keep winning and get some help. We’ll do our part, but we’ve just got to hope to get some help.”

White House (3-4, 0-3) saw its playoff hopes dashed. Though not mathematically eliminated, the Blue Devils must beat Creek Wood, Montgomery Central and Greenbrier and have top teams lose to make the postseason.

Heritage will enjoy fall break and its bye week before traveling to Westmoreland Oct. 25. White House hosts Creek Wood (6-1) Friday at 7 p.m.

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