Petrey, Harp leads Whitley past Harlan County

Published 3:01 pm Monday, September 6, 2021

By Paul Lunsford
Contributing Writer

When the Whitley County Colonels needed a score on Friday at Coal Miner’s Stadium, the team looked to senior quarterback Caden Petrey and junior wide receiver Sam Harp.

The trio combined for three touchdown passes of 30, 60, and 39 yards as the Colonels escaped Harlan County with a 42-16 victory.

The Black Bears were once again without sophomore Jonah Swanner. HC lost junior fullback Josh Sergent late in the first half, as well as sophomores Will Cassim and Carter Howard to injuries in the fourth quarter. Sergent and Cassim were carried off the field by Lifecare Ambulance Service.

Both teams were held scoreless after one quarter.

Whitley County opened the scoring early in the second quarter. A 10-play, 69-yard drive was capped by a 30-yard touchdown pass from Petrey to Harp at the 9:28 mark. Ryan Steely’s extra point made it 7-0.

The Black Bears marched the ball down to the WC 10, but the Colonels held on fourth down with 5:21 left in the first half.

Harlan County had problems moving the ball in the first half.

The turning point of the game appeared to occur when Whitley faked a punt, resulting in a 19-yard pass from Christian Grubb to Harp. Five plays later, Harp caught a 60-yard pass from Petrey for a touchdown. Steely’s extra point was perfect as the Colonels led 14-0 with 2:12 remaining in the half.

Whitley County needed just three plays to find the end zone in the third period. Brian Leach went in from the 30-yard line at the 10:43 mark. The kick failed.

HC marched the ball to the Whitley County 30 when the drive stalled.

After the Colonels were forced to punt, the Black Bears took over on their own 16. Thomas Jordan came in following Sergent’s injury. The sophomore running back had four carries for 62 yards in the drive. Demarco Hopkins scored on a 2-yard run with 19 seconds to play in the third quarter. Hopkins added the two-point conversion as Harlan County trailed 20-8.

Senior Trevor Downs took the kickoff for Colonels and raced 60 yards for the TD. A pass from Petrey to Ryan Rose made it 28-8 entering the final period.

On the first play, Whitley County’s Ethan Renfro recovered a fumble. Three plays later, Petrey found Harp for a 39-yard touchdown pass. Steely’s kick was good.

The Black Bears started on their own 39. Carr went three yards, followed by a 53-yard run by Jordan before Hopkins went in from the 3. Hopkins’ two-point conversion made it 35-16 with 8:58 to play.

Whitley County closed the scoring on a 15-play, 52-yard drive which was capped by an 11-yard TD run by Rose. Steely added the extra point.

Petrey completed nine of 14 passes for 220 yards for the Colonels. Harp caught six receptions for 184 yards. Rose had 15 rushes for 119 yards. Leach added 34 yards on four carries.

Grubb powered the Whitley defense with 14 tackles. Gunner Thornton followed with 10. Brad Bisschop and Rose each had eight tackles.

Jordan led the Black Bears with 156 yards on nine rushes, all coming in the second half. Hopkins had 105 yards on 20 carries.

Ethan Rhymer completed two of five passes for 20 yards.

Senior defensive back Zack Potter recovered a fumble while Gavon Spurlock, a junior defensive back, had an interception for HC.

Potter led the Bears’ defense with five tackles. Jordan, Dallas Sergent, Spurlock, and Josh Sergent recorded four tackles apiece.

Ethan Shepherd added a QB sack. Howard had two tackles for loss.

Harlan County (1-2) will entertain Knox Central on Friday before visiting Pike Central the following week. Whitley County (1-2) will be open this weekend before hosting Bell County on Sept. 17.