LINCOLN CITY. Ind. (WEHT) — Heritage Hills is among an elite group of undefeated teams, all with the same goal in mind: a state championship. Last week the Patriots grabbed another shutout victory 10-0 against North Posey in the battle of the unbeaten.
Head coach Todd Wilkerson says beginning the season 5-0 was not on his bingo card, but he’s happy with where they are today.
“I think we knew we had a good group,” Wilkerson said. “We knew we had some pieces that had to come along. You know, our offensive line, we felt was talented, but we needed to play physical and and get the run game going. And they’ve done a nice job of doing that. We have a few sophomores who are playing this year and they’ve done a real nice job this year. So I think we felt we could be a really good football team. But until you get out there and start playing, you never know.”
Defensively the Patriots have been very strong, not allowing a single point since the 1st of September. Last week, the defense held North Posey to just 43 passing yards, asserting itself as one of the most dominant pieces of their puzzle this season.
“I feel like our defense has been good,” Wilkerson said. “We’ve given up some yards, but we’ve just made big plays when we had to [in order] to stop drives. I think we’ve had some key turnovers. We’ve taken the ball away quite a bit from [teams] a lot of times through fumbles. And, you know, I just think we’re playing more sound, disciplined defense this year than we did last year. Last year, we got away from a few things we’ve done in the past and we we got back to those things this year scheme wise. And I think it’s allowing our kids to be more aggressive and play more sound on Friday nights.”
In 2012, Wilkerson took over for the great Bob Clayton who amassed winning records in 33 of his 34 years at the helm. That’s a pretty tall mountain to climb entering as a new coach. But from season to season, Wilkerson has helped preserve the legacy and poise this football team carried from year to year.
Despite not winning a state title since the turn of the century, the 12th-year head coach is confident in both his star power and supporting cast. Quarterback Jett Goldsberry has tallied nine touchdowns this season and almost 400 rushing yards. Couple that with the 414 all-purpose yards and six touchdowns from running back Braydon Durham, this roster is as special as any for Todd Wilkerson since becoming head coach.
“When you have those special teams, those championship teams, you got to have some really good senior leaders,” Wilkerson said. “And we have that in Braydon [Durham] and some of the other seniors we have. And then you’ve got to have kids that just can go out and make plays. You know, I don’t care who you are as a coach, if you don’t have some athletes who can go out there and be spectacular on occasion, you’re going to struggle going deep in the playoffs or win a championship. So, you know, we feel like we have those guys. Jett [Goldsberry] works harder than any other kid. I feel like in in high school football, he wants to be great. He works very hard in practice and that work pays off on Friday nights. Same with Braydon. You know, Braydon’s had a dream of playing college football and he’s worked really, really hard to put himself in position to possibly play college football. So, you know, those two guys with their work ethic have led us in it. And it takes leaders like that to motivate others to say, Hey, we have something special here. You know, let’s let’s go out and and, you know, see what happens to our best and try to win the championship.”
Back in 2019, Heritage Hills began the season 6-0 defeating Gibson Southern to get that sixth win. Since then, the Patriots are 0-4 against the Titans. Now Heritage Hills has a chance to, again, go 6-0 while facing Gibson Southern. But that does not scare Wilkerson one bit. In fact, he welcomes the challenge.
“Well they’re very good as usual,” Wilkerson said. “Coach Hart does a tremendous job over there. They played a great schedule. Good thing about what’s going on in Southern Indiana lately, in 3A, it seems that there’s some strong teams every year and we beat up on each other. And whoever gets out of that mess, usually has a chance to go deep into the tournament. So we feel like this game, even though Gibson Southern is not in our sectional this year, this game is is a championship game as far as the conference. And it’s going to show us where we are in terms of what we have to do to get ready for the tournament.”
The Patriots and Titans square off in Fort Branch on Friday, September 22 at 7:00 p.m. CT.