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Road struggles put aside as Hawks rip Red Devils

Hardin Valley Academy’s football team accomplished something Friday night that it previously hadn’t in 2011.

The Hawks posted a dominant road performance in a 37-12 District 3-AAA victory over Halls before a packed house on homecoming night Oct. 7 at Halls High’s Dink Adams Field.

Hardin Valley (5-2 overall, 4-1 in the district) had struggled in each of its three road games after getting off to fast starts.

The Hawks’ only victory away from home came versus Campbell County. HVA has road losses this season to Powell and Heritage.

HVA again got things going early against the Red Devils Friday night. The Hawks scored 16 first-quarter points.

Both Hardin Valley and Halls punted after short first possessions. But after that, the Hawks took control.

Hardin Valley engineered a 5-play, 47-yard drive on its second possession and senior running back Dorian Eskridge culminated the series with a 2-yard scoring plunge. Michael Peryo added the extra point to give the Hawks a 7-0 lead with 3 minutes, 30 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Eskridge, who finished the contest with 238 yards, scored again a short time later to extend the Hawks’ advantage to 14-0. Eskridge’s second TD run came from four yards out.

And HVA wasn’t finished.

On the final play of the opening stanza, the Hawks made a big special teams play. Reed Honken blocked a Red Devil punt deep in Halls territory and the ball went out of the end zone for a safety, making the score 16-0.

The Hawks never lost their edge but did have a pair of turnovers inside the Halls 20 in the first half.

“Those turnovers in the red zone really hurt us,” Hardin Valley coach Wes Jones said. “We know that we have problems throwing the ball on the outside but we’re going to have to cut out the turnovers inside the red zone.

“Turnovers have hurt us all year but to our credit, our offense really played well and Eskridge really ran well tonight.”

The Red Devils (1-7, 1-5) also had their share of miscues as the two teams slugged through a scoreless second quarter.

The Hawks scored early in the third quarter as they took the second-half kickoff and marched 72 yards on six plays. Eskridge culminated the drive with an electrifying 42-yard scoring scamper to make it 23-0 just over three minutes into the frame.

“It was great,” Eskridge said of the dominant road victory. “We knew that we needed to come in here and run the ball and I’m really happy about this.

“We have a great offensive line and without that line, I couldn’t do what I do. We’re going to Brixx to celebrate. We always go out after the game.”

Meanwhile, the Hawks added another score late in the third quarter on a 14-yard run. Eskridge added his fourth touchdown on a 27-yard run midway through the final stanza.

The Hawks have another key district test this week as Oak Ridge (4-3, 4-1) invades HVA Friday, Oct. 14 (7:30 p.m). Hardin Valley downed the ’Cats at OR’s Blankenship Field in 2010. Jones noted that the victory was key for the Hawks, who made their first postseason appearance last year.

“Oak Ridge is a great team and we just have to take things one week at a time with these kids,” he said. “Oak Ridge has some great athletes. They have a quarterback who is the all-time leading passer in school history and that says a lot.”

The Wildcats defeated Karns 35-14 last week.


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