Hail to The Generals.
Heritage head football coach Tim James let out a sigh of relief Friday night on Jeff Sims Field that could likely have been heard two counties away.
James had just watched his Generals snap a 15-game losing streak on Homecoming night in Boynton by defeating LaFayette, 48-26.
The veteran coach said it had been a long and painful drought.
"It's been a miserable road for these kids and these fans," he said. "They deserve better and tonight we finally put a total ball game together ... I'm proud of them. It's so easy just to give up, but they haven't. They've kept coming in and working every day to get better."
The Generals will return 9-of-11 starters on offense and 8-of-11 on defense next fall. The young squad made a huge step by not having a turnover.
Much of that credit goes to sophomore quarterback Dylan Bice, who did his best Peyton Manning imitation in front of a large crowd.
Bice threw for three touchdowns and the Generals scored three times in the final 2:15 of the first half to earn the victory.
James said eliminating turnovers and Bice's performance was the key to the victory.
"Dylan had a great night tonight, but the offensive line grew up a lot too," he said. "We're a young,, young bunch and have a lot of growing pains. I know coach Fisher is going through a similar thing at LaFayette, so hats off to them. Their kids played hard, we just got on them early and it was hard for them to recover."
The Generals scored first when Tyler Meroney blocked a LaFayette punt and ran it 11 yards for a touchdown less than two minutes into the game. Alex Alhyege kicked the extra point and Heritage was up 7-0.
The Ramblers responded with a 56-yard touchdown pass from Lance Estus to Hunter Clark. Dylan Queen kicked the extra point to knot the contest at 7-7.
LaFayette then went ahead, 13-7 at the 5:27 mark of the first quarter. Estus connected with Kobe Mosley for a 15-yard scoring pass. Heritage blocked the extra point.
The Generals regained the lead, 14-13 with :15 to play in the opening quarter. Bice threw a 12-yard pass to Tyler Childers for the score and Alhyege's PAT provided the advantage.
LaFayette's Estus scored from the 1 on a fourth down early in the second quarter to recapture the lead for Ramblers, 20-14. The PAT was good.
A long Generals drive highlighted by a 15-yard pass from Bice to Maroney put the Navy-and-Red back in the lead 21-20 with 2:15 to play in the half. The PAT was good.
Heritage then recovered a fumble on the LaFayette 41 during the Ramblers next possession.
Bice immediately threw a pass backwards to Damian Goins, who found Christian Keys all alone behind the Ramblers secondary for a 41-yard scoring play.
LaFayette, still looking for first-year Coach Chad Fisher's inaugural win, coughed up another fumble and Heritage was on the spot to recover with :51 to play in the half.
The Generals went to the air again on the arm of Bice for a 14-yard scoring pass to King.
The PAT was true and Heritage went to the half leading 35-20.
Heritage extended its lead to 42-20 with 1:16 to in the third quarter when Bice passed 25 yards to King. The PAT was good.
The Generals added another score at the 5:59 mark of the fourth quarter. Andrew Chavez reached the end zone on a 24-yard run and the extra point attempt was blocked.
LaFayette scored its final touchdown with 3:55 to play when Estus connected with Cameron Marsh on an 8-yard pass. The kick was blocked.