If you take last season into account, Heritage's football team -- off to a 2-0 start with wins over Millbrook and Hyde -- is riding a four-game win streak. But not a single player on the Pride roster wants to hear that statistic. They're too focused on the fact that the Pride never has won three consecutive games in a season since the school began playing varsity football in 2002.
They are well aware a win at Brentsville (0-1) tomorrow night would change that.
"It would be huge for our team; huge for our school," said senior running back Matt Lucas. "Our confidence level is really high right now. Our enthusiasm, even in practice, is great, and people are really focused and paying attention. Really, the whole level of the team has risen, and the more we win, the more that's going to continue."
Said senior wide receiver Pierce Bullock, "We want to make history for this school."
In some respects, last week's 61-0 shutout of Hyde did that. Heritage set all kinds of school records in the victory, including the most points by a Pride football team. Heritage's previous high was 38 points in a win over Enterprise in 2002. The Pride, which has been shut out eight times over the previous three seasons, also finally returned the favor for the first time in school history.
"We've always had the athletes," Bullock said. "But this year we're playing more as a team instead of playing as individuals. Plus, we're the first full four-year senior class at Heritage, so we've had the chance to play together for so long now, and all those extra years in the system seem to be paying off. We just have to keep it up."
That will prove increasingly difficult as the season progresses and the strength of the Pride's opponents improves. But make no mistake: No matter who the opponent, 61 points is a lot in football. Perhaps most impressive, Heritage reached that mark with an efficient and balanced attack in which running backs Lucas, William Bray and Chris Smith scored twice each and senior quarterback Bryan Brosnan completed touchdown passes to three receivers: Bullock, Zak Burkhard and Quinn Tibbs.
Seven players have scored touchdowns this season.
"Everybody just can't wait to hit the field," Lucas said. "There's a whole new attitude out there, especially on offense. We have a lot of different ways to attack teams this year. You can't really key on any one person, and that's a big advantage. We have guys with so many different strengths."
Bray, for example, is described by Coach Wes Driskill as a jitterbug. "He bounces all over the place and finds a hole," Driskill said. Then there is Lucas, whom Driskill calls the team's power back, and Smith, who has good open-field moves and the speed to "leave people grabbing at air."
It's a similar situation among the wide receivers, where Jason Cadwell and Dale Taylor have proved a great complement to Bullock, Tibbs and Burkhard, the tight end.
"We've got enough different, quality people out there that teams aren't going to be able to really key on any one player," Driskill said. "So I'm pleased with both our running and passing games right now. The line is going to have to continue to improve so that when we go up against some tougher people we're getting a good push up there, but so far we're doing a good job of mixing it up the way we want to on offense.
"What I'm most pleased with, though, is that the guys don't have a big head about themselves. They realize it's one game at time, and right now we have to prove we can win three games in a row during one season. That's our sole focus right now."