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Hawks blank Central, improve to 4-1

The Hardin Valley Academy Hawks added another notch to its belt Friday, Sept. 24, with a 10-0 District 3-AAA win against the Knoxville Central Bobcats at the Bobcats’ own Dan Y. Boring Stadium.

The Hawks, now 4-1 overall and 2-0 in district, ate up half the clock in the first quarter with their first possession, which ended with a 5-yard skip into the end zone by junior running back Dorian Eskridge with only five minutes left in the first quarter.

Senior kicker Ryan Bataille rounded out the scoring with a field goal as the clock counted down to zero in the first half to make the score 10-0.

Missing senior starting quarterback Jake Bishop due to illness, the Hawks spent the rest of the evening defending their lead against the Bobcats.

Hawks’ head coach Wes Jones said, “That was a total team effort. We knew it was going to take it with Jake being out and bringing in a quarterback that had never played a single rep in a high school football game before.

“The defense made a great effort and special teams stepped up and did what they had to do,” he added.

Senior wide receiver Zach Clevenger stepped up into the quarterback position for the Hawks.

“Growing up I played quarterback and it’s just a little like riding a bike sometimes. I was a little rusty there in the beginning and I didn’t play as good as I liked, but I just do whatever the team needs me to do. This week it was playing quarterback, next week it might be playing receiver,” Clevenger said.

In addition to playing quarterback, Clevenger made a game-changing play early in the second half.

With the Bobcats knocking on HVA’s door at second and goal on the Hawks 8, Clevenger pushed his way past the Bobcat offensive line for a quarterback sack, pushing the Cats back to third and 13.

An incomplete pass and an unsuccessful field goal attempt by the Bobcats left the Hawks in the lead.

A fake punt run by junior running back Jordan Newport in the third quarter almost put the Hawks up by 16, but a fumble on fourth and 13 cost them the touchdown.

“We worked that play for a couple of weeks and had a chance to sneak it in there,” Jones said.

“Jordan Newport did a good job. The guys up front made it happen.”

Newport said, “That was a nerve-wracking play. Fourth and two and we were down on our side of the field and needed the play. It was gut wrenching knowing I was getting the ball and all the weight was on me.”

“Actually the line didn’t hear the call so they were doing their normal blocking schemes and I was running the ball, so it was kind of a busted play, but it all ended up well and I just picked a hole and shot through it,” he added.

The fumble was one of four for the Hawks, and combined with the six dead ball fouls, for a total of 30 lost yards, and two holding calls for 10 more, the team could have seen its first region loss of the season without its stellar defense.

“It is what it is. It was sloppy, but a win is a win,” Jones said.

The Hawks will host the Powell Panthers (5-0, 3-0) at Hardin Valley Academy Stadium Friday, Oct. 1, which will see the only two Division 3-AAA teams left undefeated in league play go head-to-head.

Opening kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.


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