Sending out seniors with a win at HVA

HARDIN VALLEY — Having a touchdown pass nullified by a penalty, while failing two other times inside the William Blount 20 — missed field goal and lost on downs — it seemed like Hardin Valley Academy would say goodbye to the HVA stadium without a football home win in 2021.

But junior running back Tayvon Morelan not only sparked the offense yardage-wise, his 2-yard TD run with 3:49 left in the second quarter pulled the Hawks to within 7-6.

Feeding off that energy, HVA sophomore quarterback Caleb Standifer and senior receivers Zach Passafume and Ryan Nichol began hitting big pass plays.

The end result, with Morelan’s 34-yard scoring run breaking a 15-15 tie with 4:11 left in the game, gave Hardin Valley its first win of the season.

“We saw that they gave us a favorable run box,” HVA head coach Mike Potter said about the Governors’ defense after a 22-15 victory on HVA Senior Night. “Morelan’s a very tough runner. We knew with the ball in his hands, we were going to be able to turn out some yards. He’s a tough kid, a strong kid.”

“Amazing, well-deserved. All the people on the team fought hard, and that’s what we really needed,” said Passafume, whose 13-yard touchdown reception from Standifer, on a slant pattern, put the Hawks ahead 15-7 with 2:17 left in the third quarter.William Blount fell to 1-8.

An interception and return near midfield by senior defensive back Ethan Blaylock, the third Hawks pick of the game and fourth Govs turnover, all but sealed the deal with 3:31 left. The other interceptions were by junior Caleb Smith and junior Isaac Hillis. The fumble recovery was by senior Jacob Greene.

About being motivated, “I felt like the crowd helped us and the coaches just kept it all together,” Passafume added.

In the second half, “We started spreading the ball more around, and we were able to beat up on their defense,” he said. “It just worked out for us.”

“I was motivated because my upperclassmen wanted me to turn it up, so I did,” Morelan said. “That’s what I had to do.

About his offensive line, “They blocked really good,” Morelan said. “They gave me some good holes to go through.”

Whenever a hole wasn’t there, “I went on the outside,” the junior running back added.

About finally winning in 2021, “It feels great,” Morelan said.

“We wanted to establish the running game,” Nichol said. “That’s the thing we’ve wanted to do all year, and tonight it finally clicked.

“Tayvon’s a great runner,” he added. “In the passing game, we’ve just got to get our playmakers the ball in open space, and we did that tonight.

“It’s been a rocky season, that’s for sure, but this is the greatest feeling in the world,” Nichol said.

In addition, “Isaac Hillis did a great job running the football,” Potter said.

“Hats off to the offensive line. Without them there wouldn’t be holes to hit and we wouldn’t be that successful,” he added.

“And hats off to our coaches, they put a lot of time and effort into it.”

Senior John Aragon booted a 22-yard field goal in the third quarter to give HVA its first lead at 9-7.

Potter described William Blount “as a heavy pass team, so we had to scheme things against the pass. I thought we did a very good job with that.”

Forcing three interceptions while recovering a fumble, “Hats off to them,” Potter said about his defense.

With last Friday also being HVA Senior Night, “You couldn’t have asked more for the seniors,” the coach said. “They’ve worked so hard, they’ve stayed the course.”