Pineville wins Battle of 119

Published 12:32 pm Monday, October 25, 2021

PINEVILLE – Senior running back Devin Morris rushed for 272 yards and scored five touchdowns as the Mountain Lions rolled to 59-20 win to claim second seed in the Class A, District 8 playoffs.

Pineville rushed for 395 yards compared to only 46 for the Green Dragons.

“Morris is pretty good for sure,” said Harlan coach Eric Perry. “They are pretty big up front and we aren’t and they took advantage of it. Not sure we could tackle Morris if we had him trapped in a phone booth.”

The Mountain Lions played without freshman quarterback Jason Nunley. In the second quarter, Pineville senior running back Noah Caldwell was ejected from the game.

The Lions struck early with three first-quarter TD’s.

Morris scored on a 34-yard touchdown run at the 9:25 mark. Luke Naylor kicked his first of eight extra points.

Harlan fought back and used a seven-play, 86-yard drive as Middleton found Will Austin for a 10-yard TD. The extra point failed as the Dragons trailed 7-6 with 5:28 to play in the opening quarter.

Pineville needed just three plays to score as Eli Thompson scored on a 53-yard touchdown pass from Atavius Flanary with 4:05 remaining in the period.

Morris scored on a 22-yard touchdown run with 30.4 seconds left in the quarter as the Lions led 21-6.

With 9:25 to play in the first half, Flanary scored from the 7.

The Green Dragons put together an impressive drive, using 10 plays and covering 75 yards. Middleton connected with Jayden Ward for a 15-yard TD. Dylan Middleton added the two-point conversion as Harlan pulled within 28-14.

Pineville would score again just before halftime as freshman Sawyer Thompson went in from the 26.

The Mountain Lion put the game away early in the third quarter as Morris returned the kickoff for 81 yards. He also scored on Pineville’s next possession on the first plat from scrimmage, racing 88 yards to make it 49-14 with 7:52 remaining in the period.

Harlan scored two plays later as Cade Middleton found Dylan Middleton for a 66-yard touchdown pass at the 6:45 mark.

Naylor added a 39-yard field goals with 2:36 to play in the quarter.

Pineville closed the scoring with 2:12 remaining in the period as Morris intercepted a Middleton pass and went 25 yards for the touchdown.

“He is the X factor for that team,” Perry said of Morris. “Take him off (the team) and it’s a much more competitive game.”

The 59 points are the most point the Lions have scored since defeating Jenkins 69-14 on Nov. 4, 2016. It’s the most points Harlan has allowed since losing to Perry Central 59-48 on Oct. 31, 2008.

Harlan senior quarterback Cade Middleton completed 14 of 30 passes for 282 yards and three touchdown passes. Austin caught five passes for 111 yards. Dylan Middleton had three receptions for 77 yards while added 55 yards on three catches.

“Cade has had a couple really good weeks in practice throwing the ball and it showed tonight,” said Perry. “He definitely threw some darts and receivers caught the ball well. When he has some time to let it go, he is pretty tough.

“I thought Will Austin showed for the second week in a row what he is capable of as well. He has turned into a tough matchup for people.”

Dylan Middleton led the Dragons on the ground with 33 yards on six carries. Ward added 22 yards on six rushes.

Senior linebacker Jared Eldridge and Dylan Middleton, a junior linebacker, each had seven tackles for the Dragons. Trenton Childers followed with six. Noah Kirby added five tackles including two for lost yardage. Robert Sanford had four tackle. Dylan Middleton recorded one QB sack.

The Mountain Lions claimed the Battle of 119 rights for the third consecutive year.

Pineville (7-2 overall, 2-1 district) closes the regular season at home Friday against Middlesboro (9-0).

Harlan (3-6, 1-2) will play host to Leslie County (2-7) on Senior Night on Oct. 29.

The Green Dragons will visit Pineville in the first round of the KHSAA Playoffs on Nov. 5.