Four Downs: Semi-state

Patriots @ Warriors

Teams: Class 3A No. 2 Heritage Hills (13-0, 6-0) at Danville (8-5, 5-3), 8 p.m. Friday.
Series: This is the first time the teams have met.

1: Friday’s game will be the 10th visit to the semi-state round for Heritage Hills, and the second such trip for Todd Wilkerson as the head coach. Wilkerson first led the Patriots to semi-state in 2014, where they fell to the eventual state champion Tri-West Bruins, 14-6. The Pats are 2-7 all-time in semi-state games with the two wins coming in the 2000 and 2004 seasons. Heritage Hills went on to win state during the 2000 season and finished the year 15-0.

2: Wilkerson described the Danville Warriors as another spread team that likes to space out defenses in order to create gaps in the run game and get the ball in the hands of their athletes down the field. Sophomore quarterback Kale Payne will be directing traffic and has thrown for 1,824 yards and 24 touchdowns on the season. Senior running back Chandler Schubert is the Warriors’ leading rusher with 1,896 yards and 24 scores on the ground.

3: The motto is real simple for Wilkerson — defense, defense, defense. He believes defense is the major key that’s driven the team to the semi-state round, and that’ll be the primary factor that determines if the Pats get to play for a state championship. In the postseason, Heritage Hills has averaged fewer than seven points allowed in four games and have held three opponents to less than 300 yards of total offense in the same span.

4: “It’s the same issue we have every week,” Wilkerson said of the unique style of offense the Patriots employ. “We don’t see a lot of teams who play our style of offense. So, it’s hard to figure out how they’re going to line up and defend us. We take our best guess and prepare for that. That’s a challenge, but also a benefit for us.”

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