Johnson Central defeats Black Bears

Published 2:09 pm Monday, October 18, 2021

By Paul Lunsford

Johnson Central scored four touchdowns runs of 10 yards or less on Friday as the Golden Eagles downed visiting Harlan County 43-6 in district football action at Jim Matney Field in Paintsville.

The Eagles gained 262 yards on the ground. Sophomore running back Carter Conley led the team with 92 yards on six carries. Freshman running back Zack McCoart rushed for 77 yards on seven carries.

JC quarterback Grant Rice completed three of six passes for 19 yards for the Eagles.

The Black Bears, known for its running game, gained only 37 rushing yards. Demarco Hopkins led HC with 26 yards on 12 rushes.

Sophomore quarterback Ethan Rhymer completed three of five passes for 82 yards for the Bears.

Johnson Central wasted little time to score.

McCoart scored on a 4-yard run at the 10:27 mark of the opening quarter. Sawyer Crum added the extra point for the Eagles.

Less than three minutes later, Ryleh McKenzie intercepted a Rhymer pass and raced 60 yards for a touchdown. Crum’s kick made it 14-0.

The Eagles closed the period as Rice went in from the 7 with 10 seconds left in the quarter. Crum’s kick was perfect.

Johnson Central marched down the field in the second quarter to the HC 6 before a fumble turned the ball over to the Black Bears.

Following a Harlan County punt, the Eagles needed just four plays to score as Rice scored on a 7-yard keeper. Crum’s kick made it 28-0 at halftime.

With seven minutes left in the third quarter, Conley added a 4-yard touchdown run. Chase Price scored on a two-point conversion to start a running clock.

Johnson Central’s final score came with four minutes remaining in the period as Conley went in from the 20. Crum’s fifth kick of the night was good as the Eagles led 43-0.

On their next possession, the Black Bears started on their own 28. Five plays later, Rhymer connected with Jonah Swanner for a 63-yard touchdown pass. The conversion run failed.

Crum’s five extra points, pushes his season total to a perfect 24-of-24.

Price had a fumble recovery for Johnson Central as Logan Castle forcing the fumble.

Senior linebacker Mason Lemaster led the Golden Eagles offense with 10 tackles. Price added seven.

Johnson Central improved to 6-2 overall and 3-0 in district play. The Eagles will travel to Letcher Central next week to battle the Cougars for the Class 4A District 8 Championship.

The Cougars (6-1, 3-0) had an open date this past week.

Harlan County (2-6, 0-3) will play host to Perry Central in a key district showdown on Friday. The Black Bears must win to make the playoffs.

The Commodores (5-3, 1-2) claimed a 34-8 victory over visiting Clay County (4-4, 1-3) on Friday.