Heritage to rely on depth in 'reload'


Heritage School head coach Tim Shipman, left, gives instructions to then-freshman Parker Given during one of the Eagles' 2013 six-man football games. Along with nearly a dozen returning lettermen, Given is expected to anchor the Eagles' offensive line and tight end positions. —Standard-Radio Post/Danny Hirt.

By Danny Hirt

Some high school football teams regroup for an upcoming season, others retool their offenses and/or defenses.

But for the Heritage School six-man squad, the “r” word is reload. After all, making the playoffs is a given for the Eagles; it’s usually how far into post-season action do they go.

Heritage has played in the last three TAPPS 1A pigskin championship games, coming away with a win in 2011, but back-to-back losses in 2012 and 2013.

“There is no doubt we are more than hungry to get the runner-up monkey off our back,” said the Eagles’ head coach, Tim Shipman. “However, I think one of the most important things we have done and will continue to do at Heritage is emphasize the building of Christian character and leadership.”

The Eagles’ credentials are as impressive as ever — 13 lettermen will be returning for the 2014 season, reflecting four on each side of the ball. In addition, Heritage lost only two seniors from last year’s 9-5 state finalist team.

“These guys (the lettermen) bring a wealth of experience and talent to the table,” Shipman said. With the inclusion of nine players from the 2013 junior high school team joining forces with the returnees, the Eagles look good to the coach. “We could be as deep as we have been in a long time.”

If the Eagles are going to live up to their potential, they’ll need the help of experienced key players, according to Shipman.

Parker Pattillo, Jacob Huser and Skyler Kitzmiller return in the backfield and as seasoned corners on defense, with Kitzmiller getting in the action on the defensive line.

“Joe Lucas, Parker Given, Jackson Bernard, Elliot Grimes and Leighton Klepac return to anchor our offensive line and tight end sports,” Shipman said.

The Heritage mentor looks for good things from Blake Ashley, as well. “Ashley gained vital experience as a freshman last year at the quarterback sport,” the coach said, adding that the now-sophomore will add his talents to the defense during the 2014 campaign.

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