MONROEVILLE – Heritage junior quarterback Branson Dossen wasnt sweating his teams 10-point deficit entering the fourth quarter against Garrett in the teams Class 3A sectional opener Friday night.
The Patriots had trailed the Railroaders before and came out on top.
We definitely felt like we could still win, Dossen said.
How right he was.
Dossen scored on a 14-yard run with 5.3 seconds left, and Heritage pulled off some late heroics again in a 41-38 win over the Railroaders. Heritage (7-3) will play Bishop Luers (1-9) at home next Friday.
The quarterbacks confidence came from Heritage overcoming a 21-0 deficit and beat Garrett 26-21 in the regular-season finale last week.
The stakes for the Patriots and Garrett (4-6) were higher this week.
It was like a tale of two halves last week, Heritage coach Dean Lehrman said.
This one was back and forth, back and forth. It was a good, old-fashioned, great football game against two great rivals.
The Patriots scored first on a 2-yard touchdown run from senior running back Justyn Hart with 8:06 left in the first quarter.
Railroaders quarterback Noah Follett scored on a 6-yard keeper three plays later to tie the game with 6:57 left in the first.
Garretts Cole Wilson took an interception 29 yards for a score to end the first quarter.
Then Dossen shot back with a 77-yard touchdown throw to senior Conner Bleke a minute into the second.
Hart got his second touchdown on a 2-yard run with 28 seconds left in the half, only to have Follett manufacture a 4-for-4 passing drive for 49 yards and kicker Karsten Cooper make a 32-yard field goal as time expired in the first half with the Patriots up 21-17.
Garrett gave Heritage just five snaps in the third quarter and broke out to a 10-point lead, but just as they did last week, the Patriots rallied.
Dossen hit Bleke for a 16-yard touchdown with 10:18 left, but Heritage missed the extra point.
Clinging to a four-point advantage, Garrett stuck to the ground to kill the clock.
The move backfired. The Railroaders fumbled on their 32, and Heritage recovered with 7:32 to play.
That was huge, Lehrman said.
Dossen scored on a quarterback sneak from the goal line with 5:22 left, and he carried it in for the two-point conversion to give the Patriots a 35-31 lead.
The Railroaders went for it on fourth-and-2 from inside Heritages 10 and drew the Patriots offside. That set up another 3-yard run from Follett to take a 38-35 lead with 51 seconds left.
But once again, Heritage crumbled.
Dossen got his team down the field quickly, and with 5.3 seconds left, he crossed into the end zone after scrambling, leaping over a defender and forcing his way through a couple more.
They blitzed guys up the middle and I saw a gap, and I just took off, said Dossen, who threw for 176 yards, ran for 51 and had four total touchdowns. It was a great feeling.