Rivalry brings out the best
When William Blount senior Lane Bloom broke loose for a 93-yard run to the end zone on the Governors’ first play from scrimmage Friday night, he never expected that would be the only touchdown against Heritage.
But in a game of rivals, nothing is certain, and that proved to be the case again on Friday night at Mike White Field when county neighbors battled at the low end of District 4-AAA. Team records, as they say, were not a factor.
The Governors managed to score early, pump a couple of field goals through and hang on for a 13-2 win, but the visiting Mountaineers may have played their best game of the season, especially on defense.
For Bloom, it was a welcome victory — the first in the district for the Governors — but it was also an indicator of how unpredictable rivalry games can be.
“It is a big rivalry, and it’s been going on for a long time now, and no matter how you get a win, you’ll take it,” said Bloom, who contributed with some big hits on the defensive side of the ball as well.
“We’re going to take it and we’re going to build on it. It’s what we needed right now. Our defense was fantastic and our offense put enough on the board to win, so you couldn’t ask for more.”
The opening score for William Blount followed the first of several solid drives by the Heritage offense in which the Mountaineers moved the ball but were stalled by penalties at crucial times. The Govs then took over deep in their own territory, but not for long.
“(The play) went outside and I cut it back and it just happened to open up, and from there I ran as fast as I could,” Bloom said.
It was all too familiar to a Heritage squad that has given up big points early and found the climb out of such deficits far too difficult. But on this night, things didn’t play that way. The Mountaineer defense rallied and refused to fade as the game progressed.
“Midway into this season, we’re now starting to see things that develop because of coaching, and now they’re starting to put their hearts into it because they aren’t guessing as much,” Heritage coach Tim Hammontree said of the effort.
“Our kicking game is better, our punting game is better, we made some big gains and Je’Rell (Bledsoe) did well on returns.”
The William Blount defense wasn’t about to be outdone, disrupting Heritage’s passing game and keeping the Mountaineers out of field goal range.
“It would have been great to put some more points on the board, but our offense isn’t clicking right now,” WB coach David Gregory said. “We did a great (defensive) job against the run, but we weren’t as good against the pass. Then we started to put pressure on the (Heritage) quarterback and frustrated him a little bit.
“I’d rather be able to relax (with a big lead), but sometimes you win ugly and a win is a win.”
For Bloom, it felt like plenty of points, especially given the need for some momentum at this stage of the season.
“It’s always great to have something to build on and the fact that we could do it this week going into the toughest part of our schedule really means a lot,” Bloom said.
“We’re going to need it and hopefully, we’ll give these last few teams a run for their money.”
Dr. Leonard Butts is sports editor emeritus and currently tutoring writing at Pellissippi State.