Letcher Central routs Black Bears in annual Coal Bowl

Published 3:44 pm Tuesday, October 4, 2022

By Paul Lunsford

Contributing Writer

The Harlan County Black Bears have dropped two straight district games and in danger of a much-needed win in its last two district games to make the playoffs following Friday’s 45-6 loss at Letcher Central.

HCHS missed the KHSAA playoffs in 2021.

Letcher Central senior quarterback Jonah Little rushed for 130 yards and three touchdowns and passed for 177 yards and two TDs for the Cougars.

Sophomore receiver Keaston Branham has touchdowns receptions of 37 and 31 yards. Junior running back Isaac Matthews added a 4-yard TD run.

Koby Johnson had a pair of two-point conversions for the Cougars. Little and Andrew Little each had two-point conversions. Conner Bowling added an extra point.

Letcher Central led 7-0 after one quarter and took a 29-6 advantage into the break.

The Cougars added eight points each in the third and fourth periods.

The Black Bears’ only touchdown came when Ethan Rhymer connected with Jonah Swanner for a 52-yard score in the second quarter.

It was the Cougars’ third consecutive victory over the Black Bears.

Junior running back Thomas Jordan led the Bears with 54 yards on 16 carries. James Howard added 30 yards.

Rhymer completed six of 13 passes for 92 yards.

Swanner had four receptions for 81 yards.

Branham caught three passes from Little for 90 yards.

Letcher Central (5-2 overall, 1-0 district) will host Clay County (4-2, 1-1) on Friday.

The Cougars thrashed Clay 54-18 last season.

The Black Bears (3-4, 0-2) have an open date this week. HC will play host to Johnson Central on Oct. 14.

The Bears will close district play on Oct. 21 at Perry Central. The winner of the game will secure a playoff game.

Letcher Central 45, Harlan County 6

Harlan Co. 0 6 0 0 — 6

Letcher 7 22 8 8 — 45

LC—Branham 37 pass from Little (Bowling kick)

LC—Matthews 4 run (Little run)

LC—Branham 31 pass from Little (Run failed)

HC—Swanner 52 pass from Rhymer (Run failed)

LC—Little 2 run (Johnson run)

LC—Little 35 run (Little run)

LC—Little 7 run (Johnson run)