Less than five minutes into the Hardin Valley Academy versus Bearden showdown at BHS’s Bill Young Field last Friday, Oct. 20, the Bulldogs grabbed a 21-3 lead: a 47-yard London Stephney touchdown catch from quarterback Collin Ironside, a D.J. Cox 76-yard scoring pass from Ironside and Kahlil Abdullah’s 14-yard fumble return for a TD.
It ended 42-3 Bearden, allowing the Bulldogs [5-4 overall, 2-3 in Region 1-6A] to control its playoff destiny. A win this Friday, Oct. 27, at Morristown West and BHS will claim the region’s No. 4 playoff seed.
Stephney also scored on a 34-yard strike from Ironside, while in the second half Cox and Sam Coffin each had 4-yard rushing TDs.
Praising his defense for “pursuing to the football so well,” BHS head coach Morgan Shinlever individually praised Stephney for “a big night,” adding, “London’s got that stuff you can’t coach.
“Sam Coffin has been a consistent leader for us [also a safety]. ... Nate Adkins [left tackle and defensive end] with a fumble recover and a sack or two. Those two guys have led us all season,” the coach added. Caleb Wilkins has been very consistent for us in the middle.”
Shinlever said one sometimes overlooked solid player is senior safety Nick Ingrando. “He’s been making plays for us all year,” including an interception versus HVA.
E.J. Caldwell provided most of the excitement for Hardin Valley [4-5, 2-3]. The senior hauled a kickoff back 82 yards to set up the Hawks only points, a 30-yard Josiah Lambert field goal. Caldwell also intercepted Ironside.
“It was a complete disaster. We got outplayed, we got outcoached. They played harder than us,” HVA head coach Wes Jones said.
Grayson Vaughn had a 19-yard fake punt for an HVA first down that eventually landed the Hawks at the Bearden 10, but an interception killed the chance.