Messiah Dorsey threw for 233 and three touchdowns and Gainesville’s defense took care of the rest in a 28-0 victory in Region 8-AAAAA play at Evans Memorial Stadium in Conyers.
While Gainesville improved to 3-1 overall, Heritage fell to 0-5, the school’s worst start since the 1987 team began 0-8.
Dorsey’s final touchdown toss, a 5-yard strike to KD Smith, came with one minute to go in the third and put the Red Elephants up 28-0.
Heritage couldn’t get anything going offensively in the second half. The Patriots, who have lost seven consecutive games dating back to last season, were held to 26 total yards in the half (and 133 on the night) and were shut out for the first time in 19 games (October 2013 against Flowery Branch).
The Gainesville defense had a lot to do with the Patriots’ struggles. Safety Chris Lyles had four of the Hall County school’s five interceptions, two of which came in a two-minute span in the early stages of the fourth quarter.
After a sluggish opening quarter, Gainesville got on the scoreboard first and took the lead for good thanks to an excellent drive by Dorsey.
The senior ran a keeper that went for 13 yards and set up first-and-goal at the 9, and he picked up the last of his six consecutive completions on the possession for a 9-yard score to Martavius Davis and the visitors went up 7-0.
Dorsey was at it again later in the second quarter, hooking up with Tre Blackwell for a 34-yard touchdown and the Red Elephants led 14-0.
It could’ve been worse for Heritage. Dorsey, who went 15-for-19 for 149 yards during the first 24 minutes, had another 34-yard scoring toss called back because of a block-in-the-back penalty.
On the other side of the ball, Heritage could amass only 107 total yards in the opening half. Though three possessions ended in Gainesville territory, the Patriots had an Austin McMillan field goal blocked by Donterious Walker and quarterback Cohen McElligott’s first interception that went into the hands of Hunter Sims, ended a promising first drive of the contest.