Central, 1-2, next test as Hawks return home

Hardin Valley Academy picked up its first win of the 2017 football season Friday night. The Hawks played Heritage and left Maryville with a 44-26 victory.

Head coach Wes Jones said he was pleased to see his squad emerge victorious over the Mountaineers, especially after a pair of gut-wrenching losses to open the campaign. But he knows that things won’t get any easier this week when HVA entertains the Central Bobcats.

Opening kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m., Friday night, Sept. 8, and Jones fully expects Central to give his squad a tough test.

“This is just another playoff-type game for us because we play such a tough schedule,” Jones said. “We’ve already played three of those and we’ll have more.

“I was really pleased with the way we played against Heritage. I was proud of our guys for the way that they battled and the way we executed. We executed a lot better against Heritage than we did in our first two games. That was big for us. It was big because Heritage is a big and physical football team. That’s a tough place to play and coach [Tim] Hammontree does a good job with them.”

Against the Mountaineers, HVA (1-2) received another stellar performance from senior running back Aaron Dykes. He had 117 yards on 19 carries. He got some help from Loch Hardin, who carried nine times and amassed 67 yards and scored three touchdowns.

Hardin also had eight tackles [including two solo stops] and intercepted a pass.

Junior quarterback Grayson Vaughn completed 10 of his 17 passes and threw for 190 yards and had three touchdown tosses. He also was intercepted twice. Top receivers included Luke DeFur, who had four catches [including two touchdowns] for 92 yards, and Noah Moro, who had a pair of receptions for 27 yards and a score.

Central also enters the contest with a 1-2 record. The Bobcats, who reached the Class 4A state championship game in 2016, opened the 2017 campaign with a victory over Tennessee High in Bristol Thursday, Aug. 17.

But Central has fallen upon hard times recently as it has dropped back-to-back games to Fulton (41-0) and Sevier County (20-7),

Xavier Washington was in on 17 tackles [including six solo stops] for the Bobcats against the Smoky Bears (2-1).

Central will be without the services of sophomore starting quarterback Dakota Fawver, who started as a freshman for Carter High School before transferring to Fountain City.

Fawver suffered a foot injury against the Falcons and was scheduled to have surgery today [Sept. 7].

Central head coach Bryson Rosser said that he was hoping to start Eli Sharp, another sophomore, against the Hawks.

But Rosser said Sharp was injured last week and his status for the Hardin Valley game was uncertain at press time.

“We’re hoping that Eli can go, but he was injured last week and we’re going to have to keep an eye on him,” Rosser said. “If he can play, we’ll be OK. If not, we might be in a little trouble.”

Like Jones, Rosser said the game will be big for both squads.

“We both came in with high hopes for the season and we’ve both struggled early,” Rosser said. “They’ve made some mistakes and they really should’ve won their game against Oak Ridge. I know that they had some chances against West. They have everything they need to be a good football team.

“The same kinds of things have happened to us. We’ve had mistakes and penalties, too. We need to minimize our mistakes and eliminate the penalties,” he added.

The Hawks and Bobcats have met four times over the years, with each team having won twice.