FRIDAY NIGHT PREVIEW: Heritage, Hardin Valley Academy

When: Friday

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Records: Heritage (0-1), Hardin Valley Academy (1-0)

Previous meeting: The Hawks are in only their second year as a varsity program, so the two teams have never met.

Last week: Mistakes were costly for the Mountaineers in 31-7 loss at Jefferson County in the season opener last week. With an interception returned for a score and a blocked punt leading to another, Heritage dug itself a 21-7 first-half deficit. Miscues on offense also forced the Mountaineer coaching staff to burn all three first-half timeouts in the first quarter. Junior receiver JeRell Bledsoe returned two kickoffs for 142 total yards, the first 93 yards for a score. Senior Chase Cline rushed for 120 yards on 40 carries, but the Mountaineers were never able to spring him for the big one to get back in the contest.

Hardin Valley walloped Bearden, 32-0, in the opener for both last week. Either the Hawks have gotten really good in their brief existence, or the Bulldogs, absence 18 starters from a year ago, are really down. Senior Dorian Eskridge rushed for 101 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries for Hardin Valley. Bearden beat the Hawks, 42-7, in the opening round of last year’s 6A playoffs.

Keep an eye on: Bledsoe’s escape velocity after the decisive cutback on each of his returns was unmistakable. Look for the Mountaineers to try to get the ball in his hands a little more. The Heritage offensive line has got to be furious Cline averaged only 3 yards per carry last week. The Hawks are likely to feel some of the weights they lifted this summer. Jake Olvey’s was throwing off his back foot and not stepping hard into his throws in his first start at quarterback last week. He won’t make the same mistake twice. Like the Mountaineer opener, Hardin Valley put to good use Bearden mistakes last week.

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