Football: Conquerors’ Comeback Effort vs. American Heritage Falls Short

Conquerors and Patriots greet each other after a tough battle (PHOTO: Beth Bureau, TCA)

A comeback effort came ever-so-close, but that effort fell short as Trinity Christian Academy battled with the Class 5A powerhouse Patriots of American Heritage School from Plantation. American Heritage held off that comeback attempt with a fumble recovery and finished the night with a 31-17 win.

Trailing 24-17 midway through the fourth quarter, the Conquerors drove 47 yards downfield to the Patriots’ 12. Heritage linebacker Boogsie Silvera forced a fumble that Earl Little grabbed at the 10 and returned to the Heritage 40. The Patriots then worked down the clock and added some insurance when quarterback Edwin Rhodes rushed into the end zone to put up the game’s final points.

Trinity roared back from a 24-0 first-half deficit with two touchdown runs from running back Pedro Velez. The senior ball carrier plowed his way into the end zone from four yards out with 2:11 remaining in the second quarter to cap a 13-play, 80-yard drive. He then dragged two Patriots defenders into end zone for his second touchdown, a 13-yard rush, with 9:41 left to play. That score brought the Conquerors to within striking distance after the defense forced a three-and-out punt to set up the potential game-tying drive.

Sandwiched in between Velez’s touchdowns was Clayton Roerig’s 42-yard field goal from the left hash mark late in the third quarter to make the score 24-10. Roerig also converted both extra-point opportunities.

American Heritage scored first on a 29-yard field goal from Chris Maron at the 7:12 mark of first quarter. Maron was also a perfect 4 for 4 in PAT’s. Rhodes then hit Douglas Emilien with a five-yard touchdown pass to finish off a six-play, 67-yard drive with 3:01 left in the first.

In the second quarter, Rhodes connected with Jacolby Spells from 13 yards out at the 8:40 mark before finding Emilien for a 39-yard scoring pass 7:26 before halftime.

Rhodes finished the game 16 for 26 with 206 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception through the air. Emilien caught two of those three TD passes and had three more catches for a total of 96 yards. Spells had three catches overall for 48 yards and a touchdown.

Trinity’s Kyjuan Herndon had another stellar game, amassing 225 yards on 30 carries, and Velez carried 9 times for 59 yards and two scores.

Terrell Jackson had one interception for the Conquerors while American Heritage’s Little and Davonte Brown both each picked off a pass. Brown added a fumble recovery as well.

Next up for the Conquerors is a home game with Miami’s Carol City of Class 4A. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. The game will air on Jacksonville’s FM 91.7 WTRJ and online at with the pre-game show beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Trinity will finish its run of four consecutive home games when they play Pahokee at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, September 27. Three of the four remaining games are on the road.

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