Heritage made it all the way to the state title game last season, where they fell to Briar Woods. But capping-off a (12-2) year with a loss on the biggest stage has only left them hungrier in 2013.
"We left last year with two goals unachieved,” said Head Coach Brad Bradley. “One was the district championship-- the Seminole District Championship-- and one was the state championship. We ran-up against a good Briar Woods team in the state championship game. I think these kids have a lot to prove not just really the state championship game itself, but with losing those seniors, they want to make a name for themselves here in 2013. I think that's a sign of a great program. We got beat on December 8th and on January 8th, one month later, we started in the weight room. A lot of these guys, about 50 of these guys, have been in the weight room 85 percent or more. They've really put the time in so now it's time to ‘get paid,’ as we say."
"We plan on having an undefeated season,” said quarterback Austin Fitzgerald. “We have high expectations for ourselves so we plan on making it there again."
Losing quarterback, JaVontae Parrish to graduation was a huge hit to the Pioneers, who are now looking to Fitzgerald to take over that role. Fitzgerald is making the move from playing slot receiver last season, which has given him a thorough understanding of their offense. Coach Bradley, who is now in his second year as the Pioneers head coach, believes Fitzgerald and the rest of the team have what it takes to have another successful season with a more well rounded group this year.
"I feel like we have a lot more weapons this year,” Fitzgerald said. “A lot more ways to get into the end zone."
"One of the things last year,” Bradley said, “we were basically a one-headed monster with JaVontae, throwing the ball and running the ball. This year I feel like we'll be more diverse. I feel like the ball will be spread out a lot more. Tyquante Simms, Elijah Gallagher, Donte Jefferson and Ty Tracy, all 4 wide receivers, I feel like could be one of the best wide receiving cores we've ever had. Along with Frankie Hickson who is also back who played in all 14 games last year at running back. We have three O-lineman back on offense so we feel like we have enough to put a good product on the field."