Harlan County standout fullback/linebacker Carson Whitehead and coach Tom Larkey recently earned the district’s top honor from the Kentucky Football Coaches Association.
Whitehead posted 139 tackles to lead the Black Bears’s defense. He also helped to lead the Harlan County run game with 1,277 yards and 15 touchdowns on 167 carries.
Larkey guided Harlan County to its fourth consecutive district championship. The Black Bears finished the season at 8-4, including another unbeaten district schedule. HCHS advanced to the second round of the Class 5A playoffs before falling to Madison Southern.
The Black Bears were well represented on the recently announced Southeastern Kentucky Conference (SEKC) awards list. Whitehead and Larkey received top individual honors in the SEKC large division. Whitehead was named the conference’s player of the year, while Larkey was awarded coach of the year.
The duo was joined by several Black Bears. The large division awards included: Offensive Lineman of the Year — Zach Caldwell (Harlan Co.) and Dee Castle (Knox Central); Offensive Back of Year — Sam Carr (Clay Co.); All Purpose Player of teh Year — Jake Coppock (Corbin) and Mathew Barger (Knox Central); Linebacker of Year — Justin Greene (Bell Co.); Receiver of Year — Cole Wilson (Harlan Co.); Special Teams Player of the Year — Hayden Gilbert ( Bell Co.); Defensive Lineman of Year — Derek Akal (Harlan Co.) and Jesse Liford (Corbin); Defensive Back of Year — Zach Chitwood (Harlan Co.).
Harlan County’s first team all-SEKC selections included: J.W. Cooper, William Banks, Scotty Bailey, Justin Hensley, Isaac Mitchell, Gary Helton, Fred Massey, Nick Cornett and Bobby Huff. Mark Messer, Cole Kidwell, Hunter Lewis, Josh Lee and J. T. Cabbell were named to the SEKC honorable mention list.