2019-20 Year-in-Review: Top 20 Heritage Athletics Moments, #6-10

With a much earlier than expected end to the 2019-2020 athletic year, we are taking an early look back at the top 20 moments from this year, in four different parts. The third part of our series looks at moments 6 through 10, as we count down to the top five moments.

  1. Football upsets Amador Valley

Few people saw this one coming.  The Patriots had lost their first three games of the season and now had to hit the road to Pleasanton, facing a Dons’ team which had beaten Antioch in its season opener and was 2-1 entering the game.  But that’s why they play the game.

Making his first start of the season at quarterback, senior Trevor Moorman threw an early touchdown pass to put Heritage ahead, and after Amador Valley tied the game at seven late in the first half, James Williams responded with a kickoff return for a touchdown to put the Patriots back up by seven at the half.

Amador Valley tied the game again in the fourth quarter, but Moorman kept the ball himself late in the game, finding the end zone from 10 yards out for the game-winning score and a 21-14 victory.  The victory would look even more impressive by the end of the year, when Amador Valley would end up as the unbeaten league champ in the EBAL-Valley and in the NCS Division I playoff field.

  1. Boys basketball shocks Deer Valley

The Patriots entered the regular-season finale against the Wolverines in must-win mode, having dropped back-to-back close games against Antioch and Pittsburg, which left them needing a win in order to qualify for the section playoffs.  Deer Valley, meanwhile, was trying to wrap up an unbeaten run through league play, having already clinched its first league title in seven years.

Heritage led by six points late in the third quarter, but then trailed for most of the fourth quarter, tying the game at 35 when junior Brad Ehlen hit a three from the top of the arc, and again at 40 with 30 seconds remaining in the game. With the shot clock turned off and Deer Valley in possession, however, it appeared as if the Wolverines would have the final chance to win the game in regulation.

With three fouls to give, the Patriots used one of them early in the possession to force another sideline inbound play. Deer Valley then decided to let the clock dwindle to under 15 seconds before starting its move on the offensive end. A drive into the paint resulted with a pass attempt under the basket, but Travis Simmons was there to knock the ball loose, and junior guard Lamar Murphy grabbed it under the basket. Murphy took two dribbles to get out of the paint, and then found a streaking Isaiah Hinds towards the other end of the floor. Murphy's long pass landed perfectly in front of Hinds, who gathered the ball on his next stride and calmly laid it off the backboard for the game-winning lay-up with 2.8 seconds remaining in the game.

The victory not only ended Deer Valley’s unbeaten run in dramatic fashion, but extended the Patriots’ streak of consecutive playoff appearances to 13.

  1. Girls soccer opens playoffs with big win

It took a while for the offense to get fully warmed up in the Patriots’ first-round NCS playoff game against visiting Clayton Valley.  But once they did, it was a flurry of goals unlike anything their opponent had allowed all season long.

The match was scoreless for the first 30 minutes, as both teams had potential goals negated for penalties.  But with 10 minutes remaining in the first half, sophomore Makeila Yancey found the back of the net for a 1-0 advantage.  Less than five minutes later, fellow sophomore Kaya Scott found Yancey for her second goal of the night, and a 2-0 lead at halftime.

Midway through the second half, Hailey Hamataka put the match fully out of reach with another goal for Heritage, finishing the 3-0 victory and a trip to the Division I quarterfinals.

  1. Crane, Hydorn make individual statements

While the abbreviated 2019-2020 athletic year was filled with great team accomplishments, sophomore Erin Crane and senior Jonathan Hydorn made a big impact as individuals with eye-popping performances.

Crane was an underdog going into the girls tennis season, needing to beat three-time defending league champion Alexis Matabuena of Freedom in order to claim a title.  Crane did just that during the regular league season, as Matabuena recovered from injury early in the year, but the real test came against a healthy Matabuena in the league championship match, a stage which her opponent had dominated for three straight years.

Crane won a tense first set, prevailing 7-5 to take an early advantage, but Matabuena stormed back to win the second set 6-2, refusing to yield her crown so easily.  The third set, however, was a stunner as Crane thoroughly dominated the court for a 6-0 victory to place her name at the top of the bracket.

Hydorn, meanwhile, entered the year as a known commodity in boys golf, having earned first-team all-league status in three straight seasons.  Even so, a top-ten finish when he hit the links at Wente Vineyard on March 4 for the Cowboy Classic would have been considered a strong outing in a field with over 170 golfers from top programs in the area.  Instead, he opened the eyes of the entire section with his round of 69 to claim the individual title in the prestigious invitational.

  1. Girls volleyball notches pair of five-set thrillers over Liberty

It was not a promising start when the Patriots hosted rival Liberty in a key BVAL match.  The Lions, who entered the night alone in first place, bolted to a fast 16-6 lead in the first set, which they ended up winning 25-19.

But that was only the start of the story.  Heritage battled back to win the second set, 25-19, but the Lions prevailed again in the third set, 25-19.  Liberty then nearly put the match away in the fourth set, leading for most of it before the Patriots rallied for a 25-23 victory to force a final tiebreak set.  Heritage dominated the tiebreak set for a 15-7 victory, defending their home court and creating a three-way tie for first place in the process.

When the teams met for a second time, at Liberty, there was not as much seemingly at stake, as Pittsburg had all but wrapped up the league title.  But with city bragging rights on the line, the teams put forward an even more dramatic finish than the first time around.

Playing in front of its home crowd, Liberty won the first two sets and then threatened to sweep the Patriots in the third set.  Heritage hung on, however, and forced extra points before winning the set, 29-27.  It was the same story in the fourth set, which ended in a 28-26 victory for the Patriots.  Again, that left it to a final tiebreak set.  Heritage did not dominate the fifth set like the first meeting, but instead eked out a 15-13 victory to sweep the season series from the Lions.