DANDRIDGE — Hardin Valley Academy’s football team notched a key Region 1-6A road victory Friday night. The Hawks kept their perfect league record intact with a 38-35 victory over Jefferson County Sept. 28.
But it didn’t come easily. It took a 33-yard field goal from Josiah Lambert with three seconds left to seal the victory.
“It’s always great to get a win like this on the road,” HVA head coach Wes Jones said. Jefferson County is a good team and they have a great running back in Kris Hawkins. He’s great and we just couldn’t stop him. He had over 300 rushing yards and scored five touchdowns. He had big games against Bearden and Farragut. Bearden got some turnovers early and jumped on them.
“After that, it was even.”
The Patriots may have one of East Tennessee’s top running backs but they have yet to win a region game. Jefferson County (4-3 overall, 0-3 in Region 1-6A), however, held the upper hand on the Hawks throughout much of the contest. Hawkins finished with 331 yards.
The Pats led the Hawks (4-2, 2-0) 21-7 at halftime and the coaching staff had some stern words for Hardin Valley during the break.
“The biggest thing that happened for us was that we challenged our kids at halftime,” Jones said. “We spread the field out, put the kids in space and our quarterback made some big plays in the second half.”
Quarterback Grayson Vaughn accounted for all five of HVA’s touchdowns. He had a pair of scoring strikes to Cartez Campbell. Cameron York and Noah Morrow also nabbed touchdown receptions. Vaughn added a touchdown run.
Vaughn went 16-of-31 passing for 247 yards. He also had 48 yards rushing on nine carries. Kelton Gunn had 13 carries for 86 yards.
The Hawks have four region games remaining. They host Science Hill Friday night. HVA also plays Kingsport-Dobyns Bennett, Bearden and Farragut during the season’s home stretch.
Jones said that the task ahead of the Hawks will be tough.
“We talked this week during practice and during our bye week. We told the kids that everybody wants to make it to the playoffs,” Jones said. “But our playoffs have already started.
“We started our playoffs after the bye week. We had five region games in a row. Now, we have four left and we control our destiny. We have Science Hill coming up at our place and then, we have Dobyns-Bennett, Bearden and Farragut.
“They’re all good teams and we’re all going to be fighting for playoff spots.”