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Dragons’ defense takes control in win over Jackson

Harlan reeled off 35 unanswered points on the way to a 43-8 homecoming win over Jackson County in seventh- and eighth-grade football action Saturday.

Luke Carr and Cade Middleton each scored two touchdowns for the 4-4 Dragons as Carr gained 118 yards on 12 carries and Middleton added 104 yards on five carries. Tristan West had 42 yards and a touchdown on six carries. Donovan Montanaro contributed 20 yards on four carries and an extra point. Middleton completed four passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. Ethan Truitt had two receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown. Truitt, West and Carr each added two-point conversions.

Carr led the defense with 12 tackles. Ethan Shepherd added 11. John Lewis had six tackles, while Timmy Goins and Jared Eldridge added five each.

“I thought the seventh and eighth grade played great tonight,” Harlan coach Chris Thompson said. “The offensive linemen did an awesome job opening holes. Cade Middleton probably played the best game I’ve seen him play. Ethan Shepherd and Luke Carr played like made men on defense. I am proud of this team. They never gave up all season when they could have. This is a special group of players. We’re not that big or talented, but we have a big heart.”

Harlan (5-2) won 16-8 in the fifth- and sixth-grade game as Vincent Smith scored on a 17-yard run and Dylan Cox scored on a 27-yard run.

Nate Montanaro led the Harlan offense with 82 yards on 10 carries. Jackson Luttrell had 18 yards on three carries. Luttrell and Montanaro each had two-point conversions. Daven Johnson added one catch for 20 yards.

Cameron Gray, Will Cassim, Montanaro and Smith led the Harlan defense with three tackles each.

“Our defense played tough in the final quarter, holding Jackson County on three downs inside the 20,” Thompson said.