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Time to Play Some Ball

MOC jamboree portends big things for area high schools

IMG_4109Heritage quarterback Dustin Richardson rolls to throw as Alcoa’s Jake Warwick pursues on Friday at William Blount. Photos by Jolanda Jansma

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

Dustin Richardson missed on his first pass.

Mountaineers Orlando Bledsoe, left, and Zach Amburn take in the jamboree.

Mountaineers Orlando Bledsoe, left, and Zach Amburn take in the jamboree.

Orlando Bledsoe fumbled on the second play from scrimmage.

When next Heritage had the ball, Richardson was intercepted.

So how do you explain a 13-6 Heritage win over Alcoa at the Maryville Orthopaedic Clinic Jamboree Friday night at William Blount?

“We just had to keep running our offense,” Richardson said. “We couldn’t let those two possessions keep us down.”

Alcoa opens the season and shows off its new artificial turf when Smith County comes calling Thursday night. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.

Maryville opens at home against Webb on Friday, with William Blount welcoming Loudon to Mike White Field, both kickoffs 7:30.

Heritage is off for Week Zero and will begin the 2014 season at home on Aug. 29 against South-Doyle.

Jaquez Tyson capped an 80-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to give Alcoa a 6-0 lead after Caleb Woody’s interception of the Richardson pass.


Heritage’s Devin Gardner makes the stop on Alcoa quarterback Mitchell McClurg. The official at lower left was unhurt and stayed in the game.

Richardson completed back-to-back passes to steady himself on his next series. On his third toss, he found a wide-open Bledsoe running unattended through the Tornado defense, the resulting 66-yard shocker pulling Heritage even at 6-all.

With Bledsoe lining up as a slot receiver, the Tornadoes blew the coverage on the play. Badly. The big thing was how quickly Bledsoe, who broke off his route to exploit the mistake, and Richardson, who got rid of the ball in a hurry, picked it up.

Kahlil Abuhania intercepted Tornado quarterback Mitchell McClurg on the first play of the next Alcoa series. Heritage then went 69 yards in seven plays to take a 13-6 lead.

“With a Friday night, one-quarter game, we’re not able to do a lot of evaluation,” Hammontree said. “So what we looked for was effort.”

Richardson was 4-of-5 passing on the drive, with a pair of completions to Devin Harris and one each to Abuhania and Zach Amburn. Twice, Heritage converted on third down.

Bledsoe powered in from 17 yards for the touchdown.

“I thought they (the Mountaineers) out played us,” Alcoa coach Gary Rankin said. “I think the better team won tonight. We probably made some personnel mistakes we need to correct.”

Mountaineer linebacker Colton Wright closes on Alcoa's Jaylen Myers.

Mountaineer linebacker Colton Wright closes on Alcoa’s Jaylen Myers.

The Mountaineer defense deserves a lot of credit for the successful dress rehearsal.

Bledsoe’s fumble gave Alcoa the ball at the Heritage 28-yard line.

Abuhania broke up a Tornado pass five plays later on fourth-and-10 from the 15.

A Colton Wright sack stymied another Alcoa possession.

On the final play of the quarter, Tornado tight end Ryan Clark got behind the Mountaineer secondary to collect a pass from receiver Keishaun Johnson. Wright preserved the win with an open-field tackle to stop Clark short of the goal line.

Governors 15, Rebels 14
Both teams substituted liberally.

Governor quarterback Austin Myrick looks for receiver as Damien Love protects.

Governor quarterback Austin Myrick looks for receiver as Damien Love protects.

William Blount was playing its second consecutive quarter, following on a 10-0 win over Greenback. Maryville used three quarterbacks and several running backs. Just as many players on both sides got a look on defense.

The Governors were playing to win, though. The Rebels, regardless of who was in, not so much.

Jaylen Burgess totes the mail for a big gain.

Jaylen Burgess totes the mail for a big gain.

“It didn’t matter who we put in there,” Maryville coach George Quarles said. “Whoever we put in there, they need to perform. William Blount played very well. Give them credit.

“If you’re wearing a Maryville jersey, you have to get out there and perform.”

Much of the credit is due Joel Graham. The William Blount receiver/defensive back’s first big play came when he intercepted a Tyler Vaught pass deep in Governor territory on the quarter’s first possession.

Backup quarterback Zach Cardwell ran 50 yards up the middle of the field for a 7-0 Maryville lead midway through the quarter. Graham answered with a 2-yard touchdown catch on a pass from Austin Myrick.

Much of Graham’s productivity, including the win over Greenback, came while carrying the ball on the reverse.

“We actually put that in this week,” Graham said. “It felt good in practice; it felt great out here. I was getting the ball, so I’m not complaining.”

William Blount's Damien Loves looks for room in the quarter against Greenback.

William Blount’s Damien Loves looks for room in the quarter against Greenback.

The Rebels retook the lead late, Austin Ensley directing a 70-yard scoring drive. Running back Joel Hopkins got to the corner from the 10 and raced in for the points.

William Blount wasn’t quite done, though.

Reed Daniels returned for his rotation at quarterback and found Damien Love behind the Rebel secondary for a 62-yard touchdown pass to pull the Governors within 14-13. On the 2-point conversion, Daniels fired to the right corner of the end zone to Cody Gregory.

Governors 10, Cherokees 0
Place-kicker Will Hodgson put William Blount out front, 3-0, with 12 minutes to play in the quarter, and the Governor defense was never really threatened.

With just under 10 to play, Graham pretty much put it out of reach, running 14 yards to score on a reverse.

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