BY BRIAN HAMILTON
MARYVILLE – Heritage and William Blount met on Friday night in a battle of winless cross-town rivals. The Governors came out strong and took an early 21-0 lead and rode that to a 38-19 win.
William Blount scored on its opening drive, as quarterback Matthew Clemmer hit Ashton Aucker for a 58-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the first quarter.
The Governors would force Heritage into a three-and-out and scored immediately when Clemmer found Brandon Keeble for a 14-0 lead with 8:58 left in the first.
Not everything went well for William Blount, however, as the Governors saw a promising drive inside the Heritage 20-yard line end with a Clemmer interception at the goal line.
The quarterback would respond on the next drive, however, tossing his third touchdown of the night, to Job Matossian for a 21-0 lead on the last play of the first quarter.
Cody Baumgardner intercepted Heritage’s Kyle Headrick set the Governors up at the Mountaineers’ 15-yard line, but settled for a field goal to take a 24-0 lead with 10:30 left until halftime.
On the next Heritage drive, the Mountaineers drove to the William Blount 10-yard line, but quarterback Wesley Deck fumbled and it was recovered by the Governors’ Brandon Muse, killing the drive with 6:40 left in the first half.
Heritage would eventually get on the scoreboard in the first half, as Cayleb O’Connor ran for a 23-yard touchdown with 4:22 left in the second quarter. The extra-point was blocked, leaving William Blount with a 24-6 lead.
The Mountaineers began to gain momentum late in the second quarter, as Deck sacked Clemmer at the 14-yard line, forcing a third-and-long. Heritage got the ball back and drove to the Governors’ 44-yard line, but Deck’s pass to Headrick fell incomplete on fourth down, sending the Mountaineers to the locker room trailing 24-6.
Neither team scored in the third quarter, but the Governors took a 31-6 lead early in the fourth, as Clemmer found Matossian for a 38-yard touchdown pass.
Heritage put together a nice drive late in the fourth quarter, covering 80 yards in seven minutes, resulting in a Cayleb O’Connor touchdown run. The two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful and left the Mountaineers trailing 31-12 with 4:33 remaining.
Each team would tack on one more score apiece late in the fourth quarter, but the Governors would hang on for a 38-19 win over their cross-town rivals.
“It feels good,” William Blount head coach Philip Shadowens said. “Our kids needed a win. I thought we had a heartbreaker last week in a game that we battled, so you always want to respond to that.”
William Blount (1-3, 0-1 Class 6A Region 1) will wrap up a four game road trip on Friday at Science Hill (2-2), as the Governors look to pick up their first region win. Heritage (0-4, 0-1 Class 5A Region 2) will try and pick up its first win of the season when it hosts Knoxville Central (1-2, 1-0) in a regional contest.