Fumbles doom Bears in road loss
by John Middleton Sports Editor
Harlan County has handed out its share of running clocks to opponents in the past few seasons. The Black Bears found themselves on the wrong side of the clock Friday as they fell 36-14 at Johnson Central.
Harlan County lost four fumbles in the first half, and the Eagles turned all four turnovers into a touchdown on their way to a 36-0 halftime lead.
“When you put the ball on the turf like that four times and let the other team recover it you start to wonder what’s next,” said Harlan County coach Tom Larkey. “I was real disappointed in the first half.”
Johnson Central junior halfback Daymion Belcher ran through big holes in the first half, beginning with an 84-yard touchdown run on the opening drive.
Fred Massey set the Bears up in scoring position with a 69-yard run to the Johnson Central 16 on the first play of the game. Carson Whitehead moved the ball to the Eagles’ 6 before Zach Chitwood turned the ball over at the 3-yard line.
Johnson Central went 99-yards for its second score. Zach Gound found junior wide receiver Dalton Adkins for an 80-yard scoring strike on the fourth play. Tyler Pack, who hit a 58-yard field goal in last week’s win over Perry Central, had his extra point blocked as the Eagles led 13-0 with 2:54 to play in the first quarter.
Johnson Central added another score just 10 seconds later. Brad Auxier scooped up a Massey fumble and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown. Gound teamed with Truman Salyer for the two-point conversion and a 21-0 lead.
Auxier later recovered another fumble at the Harlan County 32. Belcher capitalized on the turnover with a 1-yard touchdown with 11:30 to play in the half. Josh Dillion tacked on the two-point conversion for a 29-0 lead.
Harlan County gave the ball right back to Johnson Central on the next offensive play. Jordan Young went 19 yards for a touchdown on the next play. Pack’s extra point started the running clock with 11:19 left in the first half.
Harlan County’s Cole WIlson and Whitehead took turns in a 10-play, 64-yard scoring drive that was capped by Wilson’s 4-yard run in the fourth quarter. Wilson added the two-point conversion.
After Hunter Lewis recovered Scotty Bailey’s onside kick, the Bears went 49 yards in six plays against Johnson Central’s first-string defense. Whitehead had three straight carries before Bailey went the final yard for a touchdown.
Harlan County (3-2) returns to action Friday against Tennessee 4A power Greeneville, Johnson Central (4-0) will host Boyd County.
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