Jeff County rolls Heritage in Hammontree debut, 40-0
By Grant Ramey | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The football didn’t have a “welcome back” bounce Friday night when Heritage coach Tim Hammontree made his return to the sidelines in Blount County.
The Mountaineers lost five of six fumbles and were intercepted twice as Jefferson County stayed on the ground all night, rolling up 285 rushing yards en route to a 40-0 win at Jack Renfro Stadium in Hammontree’s Heritage head coaching debut.
Forget the turnovers, Hammtonree said. It’s back to the basics for his Heritage team.
“We can’t really focus on those things,” said Hammontree, who was back on the sidelines in Blount County for the first time since leaving Maryville after the 1998 season. “The thing we’re trying to focus on is are we blocking correctly, are our feet in the right position.”
Dearies Jones ran for 121 yards and a pair of scores, Ethan McFall had 10 carries for 71 yards before a second-quarter injury and Alex Williams carried five times for 29 yards and scored twice.
Je’Rell Bledsoe had the ball most of the night for Heritage, running for 23 yards on 14 carries. He had a 70-yard kickoff return in the second quarter. Schuyler Larue had 31 yards on four carries and Walker White added 47 yards on six carries in the second half.
Heritage quarterback Jake Olvey drove the Mountaineers inside the five on their first possession of the game — converting two third-and-long passes for first downs — but fumbled inside the five. Olvey finished 3-of-8 through the air for 68 yards. He was intercepted twice.
Jefferson County took over possession off the Olvey fumble and took over the game from there.
The Patriots ran 14 times on a 14-play, 99-yard touchdown drive, capped by Malik Styles’ 1-yard touchdown run giving Jefferson County a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter.
Bledsoe took the ensuing Patriot kickoff back 70-yards to the 15 but Heritage couldn’t convert going three-and-out after a 29-yard field goal missed wide right.
Jones would add a 26-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter for Jefferson County and Williams ran in from 2-yards out for a 21-0 Patriots lead with 26 seconds left in the half.
Both teams showed Week Zero cobwebs, combining to fumble 12 times in the game. Jefferson County fumbled five times but lost possession just twice.
The ball kept bouncing in Jefferson County’s direction in the second half.
Heritage forced the Patriots three-and-out to start the third quarter, but Williams scooped another Mountaineer fumble two plays later and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown and a 27-0 Jefferson County lead.
Jones fumbled in the backfield on the next Jefferson County possession, but recovered his own fumble and went 17 yards for a touchdown on the broken play, building the Patriot lead to 34-0.
Heritage drove inside the Jefferson County 5 again in the fourth quarter, but again the Mountaineers fumbled.
“We’ve gotta work everyday harder and harder,” Ty Clark said. “We’ve got to work on minor stuff, turnovers, we have to get ball security down. It’s just the little stuff like tonight. Turnovers are what hurt us.”
“We talk to them about climbing a mountain here,” Hammontree said. “I want to change a little bit of the culture because I want them to understand how professional they can become someday as men.
“We’re just trying to climb this mountain. I don’t know, it may be Kilamanjaro, it could be Everestt, I was hoping it would be LeConte ... That’s where we’re going.”
Heritage is on the road at Hardin Valley Friday. The Moutaineers open Dist. 4-AAA play in two weeks at home against Lenoir City.