With ground game, defense, Dawgs control Hawks at Hardin Valley

  • Pressuring HVA senior quarterback Caleb Standifer is Cody Clough, Bearden senior defensiv back. - Photo courtesy of Jeremy Wiggs/Jeremy Wiggs Photography

  • Bearden senior lineman Joe Scott (72) and Hardin Valley Academy senior lineman Ayden Turner try to recover a fumble. - Photo courtesy of Jeremy Wiggs/Jeremy Wiggs Photography

  • Not only deflecting this pass from Bearden junior quarterback Drew Parrott, HVA’s Brady Miner, senior defensive back, caught his deflection in the BHS end zone, giving the Hawks its only touchdown of the night in a 41-9 loss to Bulldogs Friday evening, Sept. 15, at HVA. - Photo courtesy of Jeremy Wiggs/Jeremy Wiggs Photography

HARDIN VALLEY — Jayzon Thompson’s and Drew Parrott’s huge rushing games would have gotten even more attention, except for their buddies on defense who were just as impressive for Bearden during a Region 2-6A trip to Hardin Valley Academy Friday evening, Sept. 15.

Two early mistakes by the Bulldogs — a spectacular interception by Hawks senior defensive back Brady Miner — after catching his own deflection of a Drew Parrott pass in Bearden end zone for a HVA touchdown, and a fumble-turned-41-yard field goal by Nathan Holbrook had the home team up 9-7 with 3:41 left in the first quarter.

But the ground success of Thompson, sophomore running back, and Parrott, junior quarterback — plus a few others — was too much to contain, while BHS’s defense proved smothering for most of the final three-plus quarters. The end result was a 41-9 Bulldogs victory.

Saying he had holes to run through, “especially the left side, Brody (Smith, sophomore offensive lineman), he was blocking good all night,” Thompson said.

“The O-line, tight ends, receivers did a great job of blocking,” Bearden head coach Josh Jones said, adding about Thompson, “Get to know him, he’s going to be a household name in this area.”

Though successfully slowing down the HVA offense, “preparing for the winged-T is not fun, it’s not easy; coach (Jeff) Miner and his staff do an excellent job; they run it and execute it well,” Jones said.

Jones praised his defensive coaching staff for “doing a great job in the plan. They had the kids focused and dialed in. They did a great job tonight executing the plan.”

On the game’s first series, a 28-yard Parrott pass to receiver Sam Tummins and a 13-yard run by Thompson preceded a 19-yard TD run by the sophomore back, who had to carry most of the ground game load after an ankle injury to fellow Bulldogs standout running back Jaheim Merriweather during that series.

Though down 9-7, Bearden needed less than two minutes to grab back the lead for good. Junior Torian Riggins’ 46-yard kickoff return was wiped out by an illegal block, but the Bulldogs went 85 yards to score in only four plays.

Parrott’s 65-yard keeper up the middle, then down the right sideline landed BHS at the HVA 2. Thompson scored two plays later making 14-9 on the second of junior kicker Daniel Kinney’s five conversion kicks.

While Holbrook had punts of 63, 57 and 43 yards, he pinned Bearden at its own 5.

But Thompson ripped off a 34-yard run, followed by a 23-yard Parrott pass to senior Braden Perkins before the junior quarterback scored on a 32-yard run making it 21-9 with 3:42 left in the first half.

Though the Bulldogs missed a short field goal to end the first half, the visitors wasted no time scoring in the third quarter.

Kai Young, Bearden senior defensive back, literally stripped a Hawks running back of the ball in a scrum and ran 10 yards for Bearden’s fifth touchdown, building the lead to 28-9 less than one minute into the quarter.

“I did steal the ball,” Young said. “He was running the ball and my teammate, Ethan Hill, had ahold of him, and the ball was just out there, so I decided to grab it.”

Another Parrott to Tummins pass, covering 24 yards, came just before Thompson’s 32-yard scoring run making it 35-9 with 9:35 left in the third.

On the next Bulldogs possession, junior running back Torian Riggins’ 26-yard run for six points upped the lead to 41-9.

Big second-half defensive plays included a minus-9-yard quarterback sack by senior Ayden Ambrose.