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Bell comes up short against HCHS

For three quarters, Bell and Harlan County had a defensive standoff. Outside of a Harlan County drive in the first quarter, neither team found much success getting into the end zone. The Black Bears broke that trend in the fourth scoring on two big plays to secure a 22-6 victory on Log Mountain.

The Bobcat defense did a good job containing Tyrese Simmons and Quintin Mickens for most of the game. Simmons finished with 122 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. A big 57-yard run late in the game pushed the senior over the century mark.

Mickens ran for 103 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries with 61 yards coming on a single play in the fourth quarter. Caleb Carmical also tallied a rushing touchdown on the night.

Colby Cochran went 5-for-9 for 81 yards during the game. Devon Rodrigues led all receivers with two catches for 43 yards.

“A lot of people has been hard on (the defense) all year,” said Bell coach Dudley Hilton. “A lot of things we do was defense this and defense that. I guess you just say they grew up a little bit. Our linebackers came downhill and played. They’re just certain teams you can match up and do better with I guess. We got after them. We just gave up a couple big plays.”

While the Bell County defense stepped up on Friday, the offense struggled finding the end zone. The Bobcats had little trouble moving the ball, but they couldn’t take advantage of field position. Bell entered Black Bear territory six times and came away with only one touchdown.

Colby Frazier passed the century mark rushing for 101 yards on 21 carries. Senior Jordan Wombles tallied 70 yards on 13 carries.

Issac Collett completed five of his 20 passes for 89 yards and a touchdown. Jason Jones led the team in receptions with two for 36 yards. Antonio Zachery hauled in the team’s only touchdown on a 35-yard pass.

Bell showed that they were willing to do anything to win the game from a coaching perspective. After being forced to fourth-and-12 on their opening drive, Tanner Asher broke free on a fake punt and took the ball down to the Harlan County 34 before being tripped up.

The drive yielded very little after that with Collett tossing an interception to Rodrigues on fourth-and-9. The Bears took full advantage of the turnover driving 34 yards in seven plays. The drive was capped off by a Carmical 3-yard touchdown run with 4:01 remaining in the first.

The missed extra point gave the Bears a 6-0 lead.

The game remained quiet until their was 5:05 remaining in the half. On fourth-and-15, Marcus Kelly capped a 7-play drive with a 43-yard field goal to increase the Harlan County lead to 9-0 heading into halftime.

After an uneventful third quarter, the Black Bears started the fourth off with a bang. On the first play of the quarter, Simmons broke free on a 57-yard touchdown run to increase the lead to 15-0.

The Harlan County defense forced Bell County to punt on the ensuing drive, and the offense took advantage. On the second play of the drive, Mickens got loose for a 60-yard touchdown run. The Kelly extra point ballooned the Black Bear lead to 22-0 with 6:43 remaining in the game.

The Bobcats found the scoreboard on their next possession. It was the passing game that gave the team some momentum. On second-and-8, Collett connected with Wombles on a 19-yard pass to move the ball down to the 41.

Two plays later, Collett hit Jones on a 19-yard pass to move the ball down to the HCHS 36. Zachery capped the six-play drive with a 35-yard touchdown reception to cut the lead to 16 with 4:36 left in the game.

Harlan County ran the clock out on its next possession to secure the victory.

Up Next

Bell County (6-4) opens up the playoffs with a first round game at Breathitt County (4-6) at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

Harlan County (5-5) will play at Pulaski County on Friday.

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Harlan County 22, Bell County 6

Harlan County 6 3 0 13 — 22

Bell County 6 25 7 0 — 6

HC — Carmical 3 run (kick failed)

HC — Kelly 43 kick

HC — Simmons 57 run (kick failed)

HC — Mickens 50 run (Kelly kick)

BC — Zachary 35 pass from Collett (run failed)