GRAPEVINE — Griffin Pickler hadn’t throw a varsity pass before this season. After an 0-2 start, things looked dicey for the Colleyville Heritage offense.
Fast-forward to Friday, and Pickler unloaded with 17 completions for 339 yards and five touchdowns, as Heritage knocked off Hurst L.D. Bell, 49-16, at Mustang-Panther Stadium.
The Panthers’ eighth straight victory secured second place in District 6-5A. Heritage (8-2, 6-1) will take on Denton Ryan in a bi-district playoff on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Mustang-Panther.
Bell (7-3, 5-2) finished third and will face Lewisville Hebron on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Lewisville.
“We started off the season slow, but we started to pick it up and gain some confidence,” Pickler said. “Tonight was incredible, the line blocked well and we just did so many things well.”
Pickler also had nine carries for 95 yards, as Heritage accounted for 468 total yards.
The Panthers didn’t waste any time when Ryan Phillippe took the opening kickoff 93 yards for the touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
After holding Bell to a punt on the ensuing possession, Pickler’s quick 22-yard strike to Demarco Corbin made it 14-0.
It looked as if the game might get away from Bell at that point, but a timely defensive stop forced Heritage to punt.
Bell’s Reid Anderson later took a lateral and threw a 63-yard strike to an in-stride Jonathan Arosemena to make it 14-7.
The Blue Raiders recovered an onside kick and appeared to be turning the tide.
“We got some momentum there, but you got to give credit to how well their receivers played,” Bell coach Mark Smith said. “We thought in order to beat this team, we’d have to keep a balanced offense, and I think our struggles passing was a combination of things.”
Bell quarterback Colson Romano completed 11 of 30 passes for 106 yards and touchdown. Running back Daniel Dorsett had 17 carries for 63 yards.
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