Bearden flexes offense against visiting Govs
By Grant Ramey | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
KNOXVILLE — A uniform violation stopped William Blount before the Govs had a chance to get going Thursday night. Bearden took over from there.
Three penalties —including a warning and a penalty for the uniform violations — derailed William Blount on it’s first drive. Nothing — including penalties or the William Blount defense — could slow down the Bearden offense as the Bulldogs scored on six of it’s eight possessions in a 37-3 win over the Govs.
Nicky Frizen completed his first seven pass attempts and finished 13-of-15 for 245 yards and a pair touchdowns throws for Bearden (3-0, 1-0 District 4-AAA). Josh Walls carried 18 times for 100 yards and scored three times on runs of 10, 1 and 5 yards for the Bulldogs, who debuted Monday as the No. 9 team in the Class 6A polls.
“That’s no excuse, but it took us out of the game there for a while,” Gregory said of the early uniform confusion. “We’re over there arguing about it and the kids get caught up in it.”
Wide receiver Brandon Tipton was brought off the field before William Blount’s first snap on offense and quarterback Tim Green was brought off the field a play later to address the uniform issue. Green being sidelined drew a personal foul from Gregory.
Both players eventually returned for the Govs, who were also called for a hold and illegal motion on the drive that ended in a Ryan Hodgson punt.
“(The officials) said we couldn’t have the shoulder pads on because it had the name of the company written on it,” Gregory said. “That’s what it was all about.
“We tried to tape (the shoulder pads), but tape won’t stay on them.”
The shoulder pads and white away jerseys worn Thursday night by William Blount were the same worn in the Govs’ 30-20 win over Knox Central last Friday.
“We played last week and they didn’t say a word,” Gregory said. “If it’s a rule they need to call the company and not make the pad anymore.”
Green ran for 40 yards and threw for 49 yards as William Blount (1-2, 0-1) couldn’t find a rhythm on offense. Lane Bloom and Vinnie Hasenstaub combined for 41 rushing yards on 14 attempts.
William Blount was penalized five times for 40 yards on the night. Bearden was penalized 10 times for 110 yards, including a personal foul that brought back a fumble returned for a touchdown.
“We had some penalties, but then again they did to,” Bloom said. “It went both ways, so it’s not an excuse to start the game the way we did and it’s not an excuse to finish the game the way we did.”
Eric Graham led Bearden in receiving, catching three passes for 103 yards and a touchdown. Trent Waters had a 28 yard touchdown catch.
WB already trailed 7-0 when the penalties started to fly. It went from bad to worse when Bearden got the ball back.
Hodgson buried Bearden at its own 1-yard line after the Govs’ were forced to punt on the first drive, but the 54-yard first-quarter punt didn’t faze Frizen.
Bearden’s senior quarterback took his team 99 yards, this time needing just five plays to go the distance, before finding Graham on a 24-yard touchdown pass and a 14-0 lead. Frizen took Bearden 80 yards in nine plays for the first score.
Graham didn’t stop with the touchdown catch. He picked off Green on the next William Blount possession. Frizen had Bearden back in the end zone again, finding Waters in the back of the end zone for the 28-yard touchdown pass.
The hits didn’t stop coming for the Govs down 21-0. WB couldn’t handle the ensuing kickoff and Bearden recovered. Two plays later Walls was back in the end zone for a four-touchdown lead with 11 minutes left on the second quarter game clock.
Bearden’s Graham Rooke added a 32-yard field goal with less than two minutes left in the half to give the Bulldogs a 31-0 lead at the break. Hodgson accounted for WB’s only points of the night, cashing in on a 50-yard field goal early in the third quarter to make the score 31-3.
“Honestly we just have to forget it,” Bloom said of the loss. “I’m just embarrassed right now. We can play with teams if we want to. It just depends on, if we get some momentum, we’ll get going.
“There’s no excuses for the way we played tonight. We’ve just got to fix it.”