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Hardin Valley clipped at AC

CLINTON — Early missed opportunities loomed large for the Hardin Valley Academy football team Friday night.

The Hawks, who forced three consecutive first-half turnovers, couldn’t convert the Anderson County miscues into points, and when the dust had settled the host Mavericks outlasted Hardin Valley 20-14 in a crucial District 3-AAA contest Oct. 21.

“We had a good effort tonight, but we just didn’t make the plays that we needed to make,” Hawks head coach Wes Jones said. “We had some opportunities, but Anderson County played well.”

The defenses took center stage in the first half. On their first five possessions, the Mavericks had a pair of punts, a fumble and two interceptions.

Isaiah Burum and Devon Cox grabbed interceptions for HVA — Cox’s pick coming after ACHS had driven into HVA territory.

Hardin Valley didn’t fare much better as the Hawks punted three times, failed to convert a fake punt and had a drive stopped by an interception in the red zone.

“We got some turnovers, but we couldn’t take advantage of them,” Jones said. “Then, we had the interception in the red zone that hurt us.”

The Mavericks (4-5 overall, 4-3 in the district) finally scored on their last possession of the first half. Anderson County took the ball at its 42-yard line with 4:49 remaining in the second quarter.

From there, the Mavs engineered an eight-play drive. Sophomore backup quarterback Tyler Hicks culminated the drive with an electrifying 17-yard run for the game’s first points and a 6-0 lead.

On its final possession of the opening half, Hardin Valley needed 10 plays to drive from its own 47 to the Mavs 23.

Michael Peryo, however, missed a field goal. “Not coming away with three points there really hurt us,” Jones said.

The Hawks (5-4, 4-3) would score early in the third quarter. HVA received the ball on its own 49 and engineered an 11-play, 51-yard drive that consumed nearly five minutes. Jordan Newport capped things with an 8-yard touchdown run with 7:21 left in the quarter.

On the drive, senior tailback Dorian Eskridge made a big play when he dashed 14 yards on a fourth-and-10. Peryo hit the PAT to give HVA a 7-6 lead.

The Hawks’ advantage, however, was short-lived. After a blocked punt, the Mavs took over at the HVA 12 and scored three plays later, making it 12-7.

Anderson County added another TD before quarter’s end when Hicks fired a 41-yard TD strike. A two-point conversion followed to make it 20-7.

The Hawks answered when Eskridge scored a 36-yard scamper early in the fourth quarter.

Hardin Valley’s final drive ended on downs at the HVA 24.

Closing out the regular season at home against Karns (6-3, 5-1), the Hawks can still make the playoffs with a win.

“It [Friday’s loss to the Mavericks] hurts a little bit but there’s still potential to make the playoffs,” said Eskridge, who finished with 169 yards on 38 carries. “I’m proud of our effort and I’m not going to dwell on this loss.”


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