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Bishop back, HVA romps at first-ever homecoming

An enlarged spleen, brought about by mononucleosis that sidelined Hardin Valley Academy starting quarterback Jake Bishop for two games, was dangerous.

“My spleen was about double the size it should be, it put me at high risk of rupturing my spleen,” said Bishop, who bounced back to lead the Hawks to an easy 35-13 District 3-AAA victory against winless Halls on HVA’s first-ever Homecoming Night.

With padding around his waist as extra protection Friday night, “Now that I’m back I appreciate it more than ever,” Bishop said, adding he previously had missed just one game in 14 years.

Hardin Valley, 5-2 overall and 4-1 in District 3-AAA, got its offense going in the second quarter — helped by a Hawks defense forcing five turnovers in the first half resulting a 28-0 lead at the break.

“Jake Bishop did a good job getting us in position to make plays,” HVA head coach Wes Jones said, adding Bishop’s absence “really hamstrung what we do.”

Lee Warren recovered the first of four HHS first-half fumbles, this one at the Halls 34, and the Hawks soon made it 7-0.

Finishing 8-of-14 passing for 62 yards, Bishop found Josh Krebs for 11 yards before connecting on fourth-and-goal at the 3, hitting Trey Byrd crossing in the back of the end zone. The first of five Ryan Bataille extra points made it 7-0 with 4:16 left in the first quarter.

Junior runner Dorian Eskridge added 161 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries.

Meanwhile, Krebs, Byrd, defensive tackles Thomas Echols and Zach Monroe, linebackers Zach Clevenger and Matt Winstead and defensive back Ben Barnett were among the Hawks ramping up the pressure with minus-yardage and short-yardage hits.

“The big hit early that Thomas Echols had early, where he caused a fumble, that was a huge hit,” Jones said. “Really set the tempo for us early and got us excited. Trey Byrd made some big plays for us, had a couple of sacks.”

Echols said, “We fought like a unit, with the [defensive] line holding good. We knew if one person made a play, all of us would follow in like a good team.”

The Hawks made it 14-0 with a 57-yard drive midway into the second quarter, highlighted by a 35-yard reception from Clevenger. Krebs scored from five yards.

Byrd’s sack at the HVA 41 killed a Red Devils drive and set up the game’s most exciting moment.

With Hardin Valley starting at its own 12 and little more than two minutes left in the first half, Eskridge broke three tackles before outrunning the Halls secondary to complete an 88-yard scoring scamper. It 21-0 with 1:56 left in the half.

Matt Rabren recovered a Halls receiver’s fumble at the HVA 47 with only 49.5 seconds remaining.

The Hawks didn’t go quietly to the locker room. They got cute.

Bishop’s lateral to Clevenger was fired deep, and accurately, to a streaking Adam Schlosser at the HHS 8. Bishop’s lob to the deep right corner of the end zone found Clevenger, an over-the-shoulder TD grad, with just 15.5 seconds to go in the half.

Krebs and Byrd also recovered first-half fumbles, while Hawks defensive back Devin Cox picked off a long pass to end the half.

The Red Devils marched to the Hawks 8 in the third quarter before Barnett ended the drive with a big fourth-down hit.

“Ben Barnett made some huge tackles, some one-on-one things on some third downs. I thought Ben had an excellent game at cornerback,” Jones said.

Echols and Warren combined for a minus-3 sack killing a Halls drive reaching the HVA 35.

A 67-yard Hawks scoring drive ended with Eskridge’s 35-yard TD run with 11:03 to play.

A Zach Clevenger minus-17 sack killed still another Halls scoring chance that reached the HVA 5. “Clevenger continues to be a threat out there on defense,” Jones said. “Folks, they look for him, they want to make sure they’re not running the ball at him because he rushes so well.”

Clevenger also blocked an extra point.

Morgan Knight reeled off a 28-yard run late in the game.


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