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First taste of varsity grid life
Jones generally pleased with Hawks’ play in spring practice, scrimmages


Having “around 75” rising sophomore and juniors “and a few seniors” participating in its first-ever spring practice, Hardin Valley Academy got its first taste of big time varsity football.

That first “taste,” featured during HVA’s two weeks of practice in early May, came from perennial power Morristown West, formerly of Class 4A, on the road.

“It gave us a taste of the speed of the game,” HVA head coach Wes Jones said. “For next season, for these guys, that’s a big thing. Our kids hadn’t seen varsity speed or intensity. They’re having to learn how to answer to that as well.

“We were able to answer the intensity and the speed of the game for about the first four or five series of the game,” Jones added. “But their depth wore us down. We just don’t have a lot of great depth ’cause we don’t have a lot of experience. But I was real pleased with the scrimmage, I saw some real good things. A very competitive scrimmage for us.


“I think they were nervous going into it because they didn’t know what to expect.”

About a week later at home against Oneida, “We improved,” Jones said. “Our defense played well. Really shut down Oneida, caused several turnovers.

“We moved the ball consistently against Oneida,” he added. “In the entire two-hour scrimmage we only had one negative football play. We didn’t turn the ball over that night. I was a big improvement over Morristown West.

“It was a big surprise. Obviously, we made a ton of mistakes fundamentally. … We’d only had about one practice on grass because of the weather that week.”

The Hawks’ base offense is I-formation, while defensively “we’re a four-man front but we’ll put eight in the box. We’re very multiple,” Jones said.

In the overview, “We obviously feel like we’re playing catch-up,” Jones said. “Everything has to be done with a sense of urgency at all times.”

“We’re having to work a lot harder and a lot faster getting ready for the season.”

About the transition from junior varsity in 2008, “I think it’s time we make our move; obviously, it’s going to be a tough move, moving into 6-A[AA] football with limited seniors and experience levels,” Jones said of becoming a varsity program in the state’s biggest, and newest, classification. “But we’re as comfortable as can be expected, I guess.”

Individually, “Our quarterback, Jake Bishop, [junior] we felt like he had a good spring for us,” Jones said. “Our tailback, Dorian Eskridge [sophomore], he had a really good spring. He’s going to be able to help on the varsity level both offensively and defensively, as a defensive back.”

“On the defensive side of the ball, we felt like our linebackers had a good spring, in particular Zach Clevenger and Josh Krebbs,” Jones said about the junior pair.

 

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