Thunderstorms, Eskridge dampen Bearden’s opener

On a dark and stormy night in Hardin Valley, the Bearden Bulldogs dropped the season opener 32-0. Everything was set to go for an electric Friday night of football at 7:30 sharp. The Hardin Valley Hawks kicked off, and Bearden’s football season was underway. Christian Robinson took the handoff up the middle for the Bulldogs’ first play. They did not run another one for two hours. Rain stopped the game until shortly after 9:30, and the Bulldogs retook the field. However, something stayed in the locker room. Two plays in, on his first pass as a starter, Nicky Frizen threw an interception. Frizen finished 8-for-21 for 23 yards. “Nicky’s fine,” BHS Coach Brad Taylor said. “He is definitely one of the hardest working competitors on our football team. We just got to help Nicky out. We have run block better and run better.” Bearden had trouble running the ball against the Hawks’ defensive line. Frizen, Robinson, and Josh Haney combined for 17 yards and a fumble on 23 rushing attempts. “You will see a drastic improvement if we run the ball like we can run the ball,” Coach Taylor said. “This team has shown in scrimmages, we can run versus anybody.” Defensively, while the Bulldogs did concede 32 points, they were often given a short field to defend, as on the first drive when Hardin Valley started on Bearden’s 6-yard line due to Frizen’s interception. “Our defense wasn’t terrible; we just put them in tough situations,” Coach Taylor said. “When we don’t run the ball, you can’t expect them to pitch a shutout.” The defense forced a fumble in the third quarter that gave the offense the ball on HVA’s 39-yard line, but Bearden only went backward in four plays. The Hawks, meanwhile, came out gunning even after sitting for two hours in the rain delay. Senior tailback Dorian Eskridge led the Hawks with 102 yards rushing and two touchdowns. The Bulldogs will get a chance to get going when they host Morristown East for the home opener on Friday night. “It will improve all areas if we can run the ball,” Coach Taylor said. “It was one ball game. We always knew we would have to improve week-to-week. “That’s what we are going to do.”