A balanced offensive attack helped the Harlan Green Dragons post a 30-22 win Saturday at Evarts in seventh- and eighth-grade football action.
Kilian Ledford had a big day at quarterback, completing eight of 18 passes for 146 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Jarrett McKenzie caught two of the TD passes for 56 yards and also added 53 yards rushing and a touchdown. Troy Barton ran for 124 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
Ledford found McKenzie on a play-action pass that covered 25 yards for the first touchdown. Barton and Ledford set up the touchdown with runs of 22 and 20 yards, respectively.
McKenzie slipped out of the backfield and caught a 31-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter as the Dragons’ lead grew to 12-0.
Evarts muffed a punt after pressure from McKenzie and Jake Wilson. Ledford teamed with Wilson for a 60-yard pass to set up Barton’s 3-yard TD run behind a block from Garrett Begley.
The Wildcats responded with two quick touchdowns, the second coming after recovering an onside kick, to cut the deficit to 18-12 at halftime. Hobert Cornett scored the first Evarts TD on a 20-yard run and Brenon Osbourne added the two-point conversion. Osborne also scored on a 5-yard run up the middle and tacked on the two-point conversion.
Evarts appeared to be heading for a tying touchdown in the third quarter, but Barton and Jonathan Eldridge forced a fumble that Caleb Atkins recovered. Ledford had a long run, then teamed with Andrew Noah for a 32-yard touchdown pass and a 24-12 lead.
The Wildcats scored quickly after a long kickoff return as Cornett went in from the 10.
McKenzie gave the Dragons some breathing room with this third touchdown with 54 seconds to play.
Evarts drove to the Harlan 30 in the closing seconds before time expired.
Harlan finished with 275 yards rushing and 146 passing. Begley led the defense with seven tackles. Franklin Davis added four.
“We had really good line play early in the game. I thought we controlled the line of scrimmage pretty much the whole game but the third quarter. Our boys were really aggressive and played hard, and I am proud of the fight they showed tonight,” Harlan coach Chris Thompson said.
“We are going to have to learn to close teams out when we get a lead. I told our boys that Evarts was going to make them earn it if they were going to leave there with a victory and that is exactly what happened. Evarts showed a lot of determination when they could have easily folded.”
Evarts’ scoring information was not submitted.
Harlan returns to action Tuesday at home against Mountain View.
Evarts had success with power football as Jordan Steele and Kobe Burkhart each scored two touchdowns in the Wildcats’ 38-14 win in the fifth- and sixth-grade game.
Steele had two touchdown runs in the first quarter before leaving the game with an injury. Burkhart had one two-point conversion and Isaac Taulbee added another.
Nick Hunting scored on a 32-yard run in the second quarter and Burkhart added the conversion as Evarts led 24-6 at halftime.
Burkhart had two long touchdown runs in the third quarter and Taulbee added a two-point conversion to close the scoring for the Wildcats.
Jackson Huff scored on a touchdown run for the Dragons and Conner Scearse added the two-point conversion. Shane Lindsey also had a touchdown run for Harlan.