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Hawks fall short in first-ever varsity football home game

The historical first season of varsity football at Hardin Valley Academy will continue with the first open date this week following the first loss of the season.

It will take awhile to wash away the dark blue body paint on students that filled the stands and helped create a festive atmosphere. The Hawks (1-1) will have another chance to score the first home win Friday, Sept. 11, against District 3-AAA rival Clinton.

“We’ve only been playing two weeks,” coach Wes Jones told his team following a 29-6 loss to visiting West Aug. 28. “They have been playing for 40 or 50 years.”

It was back to practice as usual during a week that began with Monday’s junior varsity game.

“We are going to come back out and correct our mistakes and try and get better — that’s all we can do,” Jones said. “I don’t think we need to go back to the drawing board ... we just need to get better at what we do. Other than that, I am very proud. It’s just part of the whole learning experience. It’s not like we were never going to lose a game in the history of the school.

“We’re going to learn a lot about ourselves and we’re going to continue to grow.”

HVA’s Dorian Eskridge has grown into the starting tailback role. He set the school’s single game rushing record with 105 yards on 33 carries.

“I couldn’t do anything without my line,” said the 5-foot-9, 160-pound sophomore. “My line helped me out and had a great game and I’m definitely proud of them. Next time we are going to come out and win the game. That’s what we have got to do. We’ve got to keep our heads up.

“We can’t keep having the excuse we are a new varsity team. Next time ... we are going to be ready for the next time.”

Junior split end Adam Schlosser scored HVA’s first touchdown in a varsity home game.

There was added suspense to the 39-yard pass from Jake Bishop because one official signaled touchdown and another indicated a fumble just shy of the goal-line. A two-point conversion pass failed.

“I wish we could have gotten the win, but at least we made the score look a little better,” Schlosser said, after the deficit was sliced to 23-6 with just 3:21 remaining.

“I was hoping they would call it a touchdown. I got a little nervous after I coughed it up, but I definitely thought I got in.”

He finished with three catches for 70 yards.

The second half belonged to West junior Ivan Freeman, who finished with 210 yards on 33 carries. He had touchdown runs of 64 and 63 yards and answered HVA’s lone score just 20 seconds later.

HVA’s elation was short-lived.

Jones tried to paraphrase the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to his squad of mostly juniors and sophomores.

“You can’t ever measure the true character of a man until he gets smacked in the face,” Jones said. “We have won a football game (7-0 at Carter) and now we have lost a football game. What are you going to do now? We’ve got to get back to work because we made entirely too many mistakes (against West).”

The out-manned and undersized Hawks played the Rebels close for a half and trailed just 8-0 at intermission.

The West defense took the field with 10 players in a “missing man formation’” to honor Sullivan South standout Jake Logue, who died during the game at West Aug. 21.

The game turned on what appeared to be an officiating mistake. Jake Bishop’s swing pass to Zach Clevenger was ruled a lateral, but replays in the televised game showed the pass was almost two yards up field.

Although Clevenger was unable to make the catch, West pounced on the ball and was awarded possession at the Rebels’ 34.

“That is a huge play in the game because the score is 8-0 and we are driving the ball on them,” Jones said. “It was a bad call, but we aren’t going to cry over it. It is what it is. I just hate it for our kids. It hurt them.”

The Hawks could not capitalize on fumble recoveries by Keith March, Gary Dees and Del Fercho.

Clevenger had his fourth sack in two games. Korrie Barnes broke up a pass and Ricardo Winston had a minus yardage hit.


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