On Friday night, the Jefferson County defense held the Hardin Valley football team to 14 points. The Hawks star running back Kelton Gunn had just 27 rushing yards through three quarters.
And yet, Hardin Valley was the team celebrating on the field after the game.
Jefferson County threw for just 13 passing yards and failed to get a consistent running game going as they were shutout out by Hardin Valley 14-0.
“The defense played pretty good tonight,” Jefferson County head coach Spencer Riley said. “There were three plays that Hardin Valley made but other than that, the defense played pretty good. Offensively, we just have to manufacture some points somehow, someway.”
A week after passing for negative one yards, the Patriots could not get the passing game going once again, completing just three passes for a total of 13 yards.
With Jefferson County down seven points late in the game, Riley had to go to his passing game as time winded down.
However, senior Tanner Adkins could not find his receivers.
“It’s just execution at the end of the day,” Riley said. “We’ve tried everything we can right now to put points on the board, but it just isn’t working out right now.”
Hardin Valley got the scoring going first on their second drive of the game. On third down, the Hawks quarterback Jacob Smith fired a slant pass to Braden Schloff. Schloff caught the ball and never slowed down as he broke four tackles on his way to the end zone for a 72-yard touchdown.
The scoring started and, for the most part, stopped right there as the game turned into a defensive battle.
There were four interceptions in the game with Jefferson County picking off three of them. Bradee McCoy, Josh Miller and Gage Bolin each had interceptions for the Patriots. That was not all from Bolin, however.
A week after having three punts blocked, Bolin returned as their regular punter and kept Hardin Valley away.
Then, late in the fourth quarter with Jefferson County still trailing 7-0, Bolin blocked a field goal and returned it 20 yards into Hardin Valley territory.
“Gage Bolin is playing great football right now,” Riley said. “He’s a really good football player. But, at the end of the day (after the blocked field goal), we have to score points right there.”
After the blocked field goal, Jefferson County was on the move, looking for the tying touchdown with four minutes returning. The Patriots seemed to have gotten a break when, on fourth down, Hardin Valley was called for a pass interference that gave Jefferson County a first down.
However, the Patriots couldn’t capitalize and turned the ball over on downs.
Hardin Valley wasted no time cashing in. On the first play of their next drive, Gunn finally broke loose for the Hawks, carrying the ball 55 yards into Patriot territory.
Gunn finished it off for Hardin Valley two plays later on a 15-yard touchdown rush.
“You have to keep him (Gunn) bottled up,” Riley said. “He’s a really good back. If you can get to him before he gets going, then you have a chance. When he gets to the edge though, he’s tough to deal with because we don’t have anybody with that speed to catch him.”
Adkins ran the ball 23 times for Jefferson County but his offensive line could not get much push on a large Hardin Valley defensive line, running for 84 yards. Adkins was 3-of-9 passing the football for those 13 yards.
On the other side of the ball, the defense for Jefferson County held Smith to completing just 7-of-18 passes for 153 yards and the three interceptions.
Tempers flared late in third quarter with each team receiving multiple personal foul and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. On one drive in the quarter, five straight plays saw penalties. With the Hawks having the majority of those penalties, the Patriots had an opportunity to take advantage of them but could not do it.
With the loss, the Patriots move to 3-6 on the season, having lost their last six games. They are now 1-4 in the region. Hardin Valley moves to 2-6 on the season, having broken a six-game losing streak with the win.
The win was the Hawks first of the region as they move to 1-3 in region play. They take on Farragut next week.
Jefferson County now takes a late bye week next Friday as they have two weeks to get their offense moving when they take on Farragut on the road. Farragut comes in the game with a 4-4 record.
In their last game, the Admirals took down rival Bearden 14-7.
That Bearden team defeated Jefferson County last week 42-22. They take on Hardin Valley next week before facing the Patriots.
Last years matchup between the two teams saw the Admirals come out on top over the Patriots 51-21.
“It’s good to have a bye week, but it’s awful late in the year,” Riley said. “It’s tough when you have your bye week nine. No one wants a late bye week. We can get a little more healthy and get a little more pep in our step though.”