Frustrated Hawks seek first ’17 victory, travel to Heritage

Hardin Valley Academy will return to the football field Friday night, Sept. 1, in search of its first win of the 2017 season.

The Hawks (0-2) have suffered a pair of heartbreaking losses to Oak Ridge and West due to lack of offensive execution, penalties and turnovers.

HVA will hit the road and travel to Blount County to take on Heritage. Hawks head coach Wes Jones knows his squad must eliminate the mistakes that have proven costly.

Hardin Valley has lost its first two games of the season by a total of just four points and that has been hard for Jones to handle.

“We had our chances [against Oak Ridge] but we had too many mistakes and we didn’t make the plays that we needed to make,” he said. “Those are plays that you

have to make. Those are plays that we work on and make in practice every day.”

Despite dropping a 21-20 decision on the road to the Wildcats, the Hawks remained upbeat.

That wasn’t necessarily the case after HVA came up on the short end of a 6-3 decision against the Runnin’ Rebels in its home opener.

In that contest, the Hawks had three long drives in the first half but managed just three points thanks to a 35-yard field goal by Josaiah Lambert. HVA also blocked a Rebels’ punt and took possession at the West 4-yard line only to lose a fumble on the next play.

That was the first of two fumbles by the Hawks on the night. They had another turnover when the Runnin’ Rebels picked off a pass.

Still, the Hawks must move on and they won’t get any sympathy from the Mountaineers. Heritage (1-1) lost a heartbreaker of its own at Sevier County last week.

The game was decided on the final play of the contest when the Smoky Bears defense stopped the Mountaineers on the SCHS 1 and came away with a 10-3 win.

Heritage senior running back James Ambagis finished with 143 rushing yards, including 102 in the first half. The Mountaineers had 17 first downs against SCHS. Its only points were scored thanks to a fourth-quarter field goal from Morgan Buckley.

Friday’s game will be the fourth meeting between the Hawks and the Mountaineers, who are coached by Tim Hammontree.

Hardin Valley holds a 3-1 advantage in the all-time series. The Hawks have won three in a row. The two schools last played in 2014 with the Hawks nabbing a 50-21 victory. Heritage won the first meeting in 2011, 38-24 at HHS.