NEWNAN — Frederica Academy dominated Heritage 53-7 Friday to advance to the GISA Class 3-A state championship game next Friday.
The Knights (9-3) opened the game with a six-play drive to take an early 6-0 lead after a missed extra point.
Heritage answered immediately, with quarterback Henry Arnall tossing a pass to Brandon Scruggs for a 63-yard touchdown and a 7-6 lead on their first offensive possession of the game. That was the last big offensive play of the game for the Hawks, who were shut down by a stifling defense.
Frederica took the lead on the next possession, driving down the field in seven plays, to score on a 24-yard run by Isaiah Jackson for a 12-7 lead after a missed two-point conversion.
Frederica scored for a third time in the first quarter starting with a 50-yard pass from Jaylin Simpson to Patrick Brunson to move the ball deep into Heritage territory. Three plays later, Simpson tossed a 5-yard pass to Brunson for a touchdown and a 20-7 lead.
The Knights scored again on the first possession of the second quarter on a 13-play drive capped by a 32-yard touchdown run by Denver Anthony for a 26-7 lead.
After the Hawks failed to convert a fourth down attempt, Frederica took over on its 38-yard line. Harry Veal caught a 57-yard pass to give the Knights good field position deep in Heritage territory. Veal scored later in the drive on a short run to increase the lead to 33-7.
Frederica scored again later in the quarter on a 10-play drive ending with a short touchdown run by Jackson for 39-7 lead at halftime.
Ja’Shawn Sheffield intercepted a Hawks’ pass early in the third quarter, running the ball 45 yards to the 5-yard line. Sheffield scored two plays later on a short run to increase the lead to 46-7.
Denver Anthony intercepted a Hawks pass on the next drive, running the ball back 56 yards for another Frederica touchdown and a 53-7 lead.
The teams traded possession of the ball for the remainder of the game with a running clock and light rain turning into snow.
Brandon Derrick, head football coach for Frederica Academy, praised his team for the effort on both sides of the ball.
“We really executed good,” he said. “We’re playing our best football of the season.”
Frederica Academy will face John Milledge (13-0) for the state championship Friday at Mercer University in Macon. The Knights played John Milledge earlier this season on St. Simons Island with John Milledge winning 14-13 in overtime.