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Patriots overcome mistakes in bowl win

LOG MOUNTAIN — New Harlan bounced back from a season-opening loss at home last week against Corbin by knocking off Williamsburg 22-14 on Saturday in the Bell County Bowl.

The Patriots won despite being their own worst enemy for much of the first half with two turnovers in their own territory and a penalty that wiped out a touchdown.

“We shot ourselves in the foot several times in the first half with turnovers and penalties,” New Harlan coach Scott Caldwell said. “I thought we bounced back pretty well overall from the Corbin debacle last week though and did some good things, especially on defense.”

Dion Brown ran for 117 yards on six carries and scored two touchdowns to lead the New Harlan offense. Samuel Henson added 70 yards on seven carries with one touchdown.

The Patriots’ defense was led by lineman Will Cassim and safety Caleb Johnson.

Henson gave New Harlan an early lead when he broke free for a 49-yard touchdown on the game’s opening play.

The Patriots lost a fumble on their own 28 the next time they had the ball, but the defense responded. Cassim had two straight tackles behind the line of scrimmage and linebacker Darren Alred followed with a sack on third down. Lineman Jacob Shoemaker made the tackle on fourth down to end the threat.

Brown broke loose for a 76-yard touchdown run on the second play of the second quarter to push the lead to 12-0.

New Harlan was unable to capitalize on the first of two Johnson interceptions as the Patriots fumbled three plays later.

Johnson had his second interception on the final play of the first half and appeared to turn it into a 61-yard touchdown return, but a clipping penalty wiped out the score.

Williamsburg scored on the opening series of the second half. Nate Goodin completed a 42-yard pass to Dawson Stephens to set up a 10-yard touchdown run by Hunter Thomas.

The Jackets got the ball back late in the third quarter, but the Patriots held as James McMillian and Brian Howard teamed for a stop on fourth down. Brown and Henson took turns in an eight-play drive that ended with Brown’s 19-yard TD run on fourth-and-four. Jared Rhymer went in for the two-point conversion and a 22-6 lead with 2:07 to play.

A long kickoff return by Stephens set up another Williamsburg score. Johnson saved the touchdown with a tackle on the 15, but Thomas went in from the 2 with 1:14 left to cut the deficit to eight.

New Harlan was able to run out the clock with the help of a Williamsburg procedure penalty on fourth down in the closing seconds.

The Patriots return to action Thursday at home against Cumberland.

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New Harlan fell 26-22 to South Laurel in fifth- and sixth-grade football.

Jake Brewer led the Patriots with 103 yards on 11 carries, with one touchdown. Jayce Brown had 67 yards on 10 carries and caught a 22-yard pass from Brewer with a touchdown and two-point conversion. Landon Brock added five yards on three carries with a touchdowns and two-point conversion.

Brewer led the defense with five tackles. Brown had three tackles and an interception. Raeden Tindell, Braydon Morris, Hunter Moore and Tyler Coots added two tackles each.