Playoff points are on the line. So are bragging rights, the little brown jug and, most likely, the Seminole District title. Long-held records could fall. A coach could reach a milestone win. It’s the most anticipated Heritage vs. E.C. Glass game in recent memory. Here are just a few things to keep an eye on as the city’s two football programs ready for battle.
Like father, like son
E.C. Glass quarterback DreSean Kendrick prepares to become his school’s all-time leading rusher and all-time leader in all-purpose yards tonight. The senior is 29 yards shy of the rushing record of 4,206 yards, set by Scott Dovel in 1977. Kendrick also is 177 yards away from the all-purpose mark of 6,947 yards, a record owned by his father, Andre Kendrick. Last year, the Pioneers bottled up DreSean Kendrick, holding him to 91 rushing yards and 0 passing yards. But no one has been able to touch Kendrick so far this year. He enters Week 10 with 1,484 rushing yards, 665 passing yards and 29 total touchdowns (23 rushing). When Glass gets Kendrick and Ty Foster (643 yards) going at the same time, watch out. Add in running back Quoterrus Craighead (473 yards) and it’s a three-headed monster that could pose problems for Heritage, which will have to be disciplined in its approach to contain Glass’ rushing abilities.
A powerful running back
Heritage’s KJ Vaughan commands his team’s run game, and he’s closing in on a milestone, too. Vaughan enters this game ready to surpass the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the second straight season. He currently sits at 929 yards and has scored 14 touchdowns. The Pioneers give him help that comes in the form of Krystian Rivera (297 rushing yards), Silas Rucker (377) and Keshawn Colbert (206). Expect Vaughan and Rivera, the two most experienced backs in Heritage’s system, to take the bulk of the carries tonight. Vaughan had 1,555 rushing yards last season.
A stout defense
E.C. Glass might have the best defense in the state. Time will tell. The defensive line is especially tough. It’s comprised of 6-foot-2 Holden Fretz, 6-2 Jadan Merriman, 6-4 Holden Ayers and 6-4 Andre Dunlop. On offense, Glass subs in 6-4 BJ Wheat for Merriman, who can then enter in tight end sets. The Glass defense has three shutouts to its credit in 2019 and enters this game allowing just 9.7 points per game. That sort of number wins state titles. For instance, Appomattox featured a fabulous defense in 2015 that held opponents to a similar mark, 8.1 ppg.
In 1995, Andre Kendrick helped E.C. Glass reach the state title game, where the Hilltoppers lost to Hampton. Kenny Crawford was on the field for the Crabbers in that game (Hampton also featured Ronald Curry). Crawford caught a touchdown pass as Hampton cruised to a 35-7 win. Kendrick went on to play at Virginia Tech, Crawford at the University of Virginia. Their sons face off tonight: DreSean Kendrick at quarterback for Glass and sophomore Kenneth “Deuce” Crawford at defensive back and, occasionally, at running back.
Both Heritage and E.C. Glass are dangerous in the open field because of the athleticism of both running backs and receivers. Glass is a little shorthanded in the receiving corps tonight, as Mac Johnson is recovering from an injury. He is back practicing with the team, though. That leaves Markevus Graves (223 receiving yards), D-Moe Mosley (210), Q Foster (114) and Marquise Woodruff (96) to handle the bulk of receiving duties. For Heritage, it’s the speedy Kyron Thomas (498 receiving yards), Brian Trent (286) and 6-foot-5 Jahee Blake (135). Thomas enters with 19.9 yards per catch, Trent with 19 and Blake with 27. Graves averages 15.9 ypc, Mosley 14 and Foster 23.
Bradley and 200?
Heritage coach Brad Bradley can pick up his 200th career win tonight. That would get the 46-year-old coach into the VHSL record book, which begins its long list of coaching records at 200.
A long history of nail-biters
Heritage’s 25-22 victory last year marked the fifth time in nine seasons that the Jug Bowl had been decided by seven or fewer points. The closest game this decade was in 2011, when Heritage escaped with a 7-6 victory. Glass owns a 31-25 edge in the all-time series, which began in 1976. In 56 meetings, the Hilltoppers have averaged 16.2 points per game. Heritage has averaged 14.39. So yes, this is a game typically decided by the thinnest of margins.
Kickers you can count on
In close games like the Jug Bowl, it pays to have a reliable kicker. Both Glass and Heritage have one. Pioneers kicker Karson Adcock has drilled 29 of his 31 extra-point attempts this season and is 1 for 1 on field goals. Glass’ Tyler Garrett has made 40 of 46 PAT attempts and is 2 for 2 in field goals, his longest being a Glass record-setting mark of 46 yards.
Ben Cates covers high school sports for The News & Advance. Reach him at (434) 385-5527.