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Young, BHS overwhelm Hardin Valley

The path to Bearden’s 42-7 victory over Hardin Valley Friday night at Bill Young Field was familiar, going through the churning legs of BHS tailback Devrin Young, who had 22 carries for 261 yards and five touchdowns.

This opening round Class 6A state playoff game also featured another eternal truth of football at any level: In the playoffs, there’s no substitute for experience.

Bearden (8-3) was making its 14th playoff appearance and sixth in a row. Hardin Valley, which impressed all observers with a 7-3 record in only its second year of varsity play, was playing in its first post-season game.

Hitting on all cylinders from the start, BHS jumped to a 28-0 halftime lead and never looked back. Bearden now goes to No. 1 quadrant seed Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett (7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 12).

“We played well,” Bearden head coach Brad Taylor said. “It’s always tough knowing what it’s going to be like when it’s somebody you’ve never played before. We bent a little bit, but we never broke. Kyle [Riemer] played real well, and we ran the ball well. We did a good job up front and attacked them well.”

Young, who always seems to have an extra gear and burst of speed right when he needs it, scored on runs of 4, 88, 9, 10 and 46, leaving white-shirted tacklers in his wake and making some nifty moves in the process.

Hardin Valley head coach Wes Jones said, “The biggest thing in the first half was that we were shell-shocked. ... We put some decent drives together, but couldn’t seem to punch the ball in the end zone when we needed to.”

Riemer directed an offensive attack that amassed 477 yards total offense, with 310 yards rushing on 34 carries. His 25-yard TD toss to a wide-open Tyler Callaway was a thing of beauty.

Bearden defenders put the clamps on the Hardin Valley offense, led by Drew Williamson, who had seven tackles and three sacks, two of which stopped an early foray into Bearden territory.

Bearden got the pigskin first and went 62 yards in nine plays for the game’s first score. Young carried five times for 36 yards.

Hardin Valley seemed to be in position to tie the game, but two of Williamson’s sacks cost 12 and 11 yards and the Hawks punted the ball a play later.

Young ran for two yards, then found the wide-open spaces on the left side and motored 88 yards for the score that expanded the margin to 14-0.

“We know that if we don’t turn the ball over and execute our game plan, we can play with the best of them,” Young said.

“Our team played well. If we could make plays happen, we needed to take advantage of them,” he added.

Hardin Valley made another serious foray into Bulldog territory, getting as close as the 17, but Williamson made another big play at exactly the right time, taking away 12. The ball went over on downs a play later. “They were trying to get a screen pass behind me, and I guess I got there a little quicker than they thought I could,” he said.

From the 29, the Bulldogs headed goalward again.

Young ran for eight yards before Riemer hit C.J. Terry for 61 yards to the Hardin Valley 9. Young earned the TD on the next play, diving at the flag on extra effort

The Bulldogs got the final TD of the half with 16 seconds left, as Callaway caught passes for 10 and 14 yards, Young ran for 14 and 8, and Sam Manuel caught a 12-yarder. Young scored from the Wildcat formation from 10 yards out, breaking two tackles in the backfield.

Hardin Valley scored first in the third quarter when Dorian Eskridge, who fought the good fight on both sides of the ball, had a 15-yard interception return off a tipped pass.

Bearden had an immediate response. Riemer then hit Manuel for 19 yards to the Hardin Valley 46. Young knew what to do from that point, hitting right end and scoring his fifth touchdown.

A series later, BHS started at the 25, a drive culminated by Riemer’s TD pass to Callaway.


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