Mountaineers play tough before Bearden rolls
By Travis Cabage | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Heritage Mountaineers showed a lot of toughness in their 42-6 loss to Bearden on Senior Night Friday at Jack Renfroe Field.
Though the score did not reflect a close game, the Bulldogs had to rely on big plays and a couple of Mountaineer turnovers to avoid a late-season upset.
The Mountaineers (0-8, 0-5 District 4-AAA) grabbed the lead early, scoring on a 57-yard strike from quarterback Jake Olvey to the waiting arms of Jesse Huff.
“Coming out of that, we had a lot of confidence heading into the rest of the game,” Olvey said. “We knew we could hang with these guys.
Bearden (7-1, 4-1), however, would respond and drive down the field in nine plays. The 65-yard drive was capped off by a 5-yard Josh Walls run and gave the Bulldogs a 7-6 lead.
Heritage was not going to go down easily. Though it did turn the ball over on the next possession, Heritage would get the ball back almost immediately on a Bulldog fumble. The Mountaineers mounted another drive, but would turn the ball back over to Bearden.
The Bulldog offense then got rolling. With 5:48 left before halftime, Walls scored again. This time it was from 8 yards out, and it was followed by a 33-yard pass from Nick Frizen, on third down, that was close to being called out-of-bounds. the Mountaineers would punt just five plays later, giving Bearden the ball at its own 25 yard-line. Running back Zach Messing then busted the game wide open with a 75-yard touchdown run to give his team a 21-6 lead with a couple of minutes before the break.
Coming out of the locker room, Heritage looked energized and ready to get back into the game. That proved true when they forced Bearden to fumble the ball again at the 10:40 mark in the third. Bearden, however, held its own and forced a punt after three plays. Heritage would continue to hang around after that, but then the Bulldogs went on another run of big plays.
Running back Christian Robinson busted loose on a 61-yard run to put the game at a sizeable 28-3 lead for the Bulldogs. Early in the fourth quarter, Heritage was forced to punt yet again but the snap was mishandled and Bearden was given a short field to work with. Three plays later, it was Robinson again from 11 yards out. The final points of the game came on an interception return for a touchdown by Josh Davenport. Olvey was heavily rushed on the play and threw the pass up for grabs. Davenport came down with it and took it 60 yards to the house.
Tough playoff teams and championships are made from wins and losses on the scoreboard. Heritage is looking to build from the ground up and win each individual play. The final tally shows Bearden ran away with the game at the end, but Heritage feels it has made strides from previous weeks.
“We did better than we did last week and last week we did better than the week before,” Olvey said. “We’re continuously trying to get better each week.”
“We’re trying to put kids into a position where they can block or tackle,” Heritage coach Tim Hammontree added. “When you’re between 15-17 (years old), and never known winning, you win by the play. We can be competitive, but it is going to take time.”
Next week the Mountaineers head to Knoxville Catholic to take on the Fighting Irish, while Bearden will host Knox County rival West.