Football notebook: Big plays not enough for Bears, Dragons lose halftime lead to 2nd half blitz

Published 10:30 am Monday, September 18, 2023

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Big plays not enough as Black Bears fall to Lawrence County

By John Henson

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Contributing Sports Writer

Football, it has been said since the days of leather helmets, comes down to blocking and tackling.

The Harlan County Black Bears have been in short supply of both during the first half of the 2023 season, a painful truth evident during a 44-20 loss Friday against visiting Lawrence County.

The Bears came up with three big scoring plays, which would have been enough to avoid a pair of heartbreaking losses earlier this season to Middlesboro and Hazard, but it wasn’t enough against a

Lawrence offense that rolled up 214 yards on the ground and 239 yards through the air. The HCHS defense made a couple of early stops despite horrible field position and came up with three interceptions, but gave up their share of big plays due in large part to horrid open-field tackling.

“If we back and look at missed tackles and what could have been, we would have been in the game. We were all over guys, then the next you thing you know they are going for a touchdown,” Harlan County coach Amos McCreary said. “I don’t know any other way to correct it other than to go back to work at it. Blocking and tackling are fundamental parts of the game, and you have to do it.”

HCHS was limited to only 29 yards on the ground on 22 carries and picked up only three first downs.

“We’re just not able to move the football on the ground like we’d like to,” McCreary said.

Harlan County (0-5) is open next week before beginning district play on Sept. 29 at Southwestern. The 3-1 Bulldogs will play host to Estill County on Friday.

Visiting Longhorns pull away in second half to defeat Dragons

Staff Report

The visiting Johnson County, Tennessee, trailed 14-6 early in the second half before reeling off 39 unanswered points in a 45-14 victory Friday at Harlan.

Senior quarterback Connor Simcox threw for four touchdown passes, including two to junior receiver Jace Stout, to lead the 3-2 Longhorns. Sophomore halfback Juan Mejia ran for two fourth-quarter touchdowns as the visiting Longhorns put the game out of reach.

Senior quarterback Donovan Montanaro threw a 15-yard touchdown to his brother, Nate, in the first half, then scored on a 1-yard run in the third quarter to give the Dragons a short-lived lead.

The 1-4 Dragons open district play on Friday at Pineville.