Body - Justify
Doherty knew it was going to be in for a dogfight. But with a hard-working line and the legs of senior Zach Young, the Spartans proved to have the bigger bark.
Doherty held off Heritage, 42-21 Saturday at Garry Berry Stadium to remain unbeaten in four tries. Dating back to last season, the Spartans have rolled together a six-game winning streak.
Young, who rushed for three touchdowns for the Spartans (4-0, 2-0 Pioneer League), said Doherty knew exactly what it was getting when Heritage came up on the schedule.
"Being able to play our first fourth-quarter game was what pleased me most," Young said. "We just had to grind it out."
Most of the fight was at the line, where Doherty's offense shined, opening up the field for Young against a Heritage line that outweighed the Spartans by up to 90 pounds, Doherty coach David Joyce said.
"We had to hold the dam and put our finger in it," Joyce said. "By the end, we had good defense, and they finally held serve."
Consistency is one area Doherty has struggled. One week, the Spartans' defense would play lights out, while the offense staggered. On Saturday night, it was the offense that lit up the visiting Eagles, while the defense struggled to get off the field.
Heritage struck first, but Doherty answered back with an 80-yard touchdown pass from senior Evan Powell to Lalo Porras, also a senior, to help end the quarter 7-7.
In the second quarter, Powell and the Spartans' air attack struck again, finding junior Zack Zimmer on a 40-yard touchdown pass. Young punched in his first TD on a 5-yard rush one minute later.
Heritage quarterback Mikey Griebel found Dalton Thorpe for a touchdown reception from 4 yards out with a minute left in the half.
However, Doherty made use of what little time remained in the second quarter, and Powell sailed another touchdown to junior Kyle Carey from 10 yards. Young followed up with a successful 2-point conversion run, putting Doherty ahead 28-14 at the half.
Doherty was kept out of the end zone in the third, while Griebel broke the plane to close the gap to 28-21.
The fourth quarter belonged to Doherty. Young had all the room in the world to score another two TDs, one for 19 yards and his last for 20.
Spartans lineman Justin Lackore said mental focus will be key for his team.
"We're trying not to build up too much confidence from this win streak," he said.