Dragons take on unbeaten Haysi
by John Middleton Sports Editor
The Harlan Green Dragons already know they will travel to Campbellsville in the first round of the state Class A playoffs. J.B. Donahue’s squad will now attempt to build momentum for the postseason on Friday as it hosts unbeaten Haysi, Va.
“They have got a good football program and a lot of talent. They only have about 25 kids, but they do a good job as a football team,” said Donahue. “They are a very talented football team that will do a great job getting us ready for the playoffs.”
The Tigers enter Friday’s contest as winners of nine straight games to open the season. Haysi has outscored opponents by an average of 34 points per game thus far. The Tigers’ most impressive victory came in week 3 in the form of a 26-22 victory over 2011 Class A Division 1 champion Clintwood, Va. James Colley’s squad is currently rated seventh overall in the Virginia Group 1A standings.
The Tigers feature an explosive offense that has scored at least 38 points in eight of nine outings this season. The balanced group is led by quarterback Jalen Sykes. Meanwhile, the Dragons are coming off of one of their best defensive outings of the season — shutting out Jenkins 33-0 last week. Donahue said the unit will have to stop the run against the visiting Tigers this week.
“They use a lot of weapons out of a lot of different formations,” Donahue said. “They have two good running backs, a capable quarterback and a good receiver on the outside. The key will be to stop the run game and not let them run the ball all over us.”
Harlan got its ground game back on track last week as Drew Middleton, Peyton Dillman, Tye Patrick and Cory Chorak each ran for over 75 yards in a 406-yard effort against Jenkins. The Green Dragons are counting on an experienced offensive line to pave the way for another big performance this week.
“We have to control the line of scrimmage. They have some size up front and play very aggressive defense. We have to run some misdirection and have some success in the passing game,” Donahue said.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Senior night festivities will begin at 6 p.m.
“We want to send the seniors out on a good note. They have been a dedicated group and worked hard,” Donahue said.
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