JONESVILLE, Va. – Harlan County picked up Friday right where it left off in the last outing, as the Bears turned in a dominant victory over another Virginia foe. Harlan County scored on its first six possessions to take control from the start, before coasting to a 36-6 victory over host Lee.
“They are a very good football team. That is probably the best team we will see all season,” said Lee coach Terry Martin. “They are very physical and very well-coached.”
Senior fullback Tucker Lewis broke free for a 45-yard run to the Lee 15-yard-line to set the Bears up in scoring position on Harlan County’s first drive. Two plays later, Lewis capped the drive with a 10-yard scoring run with 10:06 left in the first quarter. Cole Wilson added the extra point to make it 7-0.
The next Harlan County possession lasted just one play as Middleton raced 92-yards for the score on the first play from scrimmage. Wilson’s extra point made it 14-0 with 6:31 left in the opening quarter.
Middleton scored his second touchdown on Harlan County’s next drive. The senior raced 41-yards into the endzone on the second play. Wilson nailed the extra point to push the lead to 21-0 with 4:20 left in the first.
The Bears’ next drive stalled at Lee’s 24, but Wilson hit a 31-yard field goal to put Harlan County up 24-0 with just 28 seconds left in the first.
“I have seen a big improvement (in the kicking game) since Morristown West,” said Harlan County coach Tom Larkey. “You can coach a kid, but they have to figure out a few things on their own, and Cole has done that.”
Middleton’s third touchdown came on a 14-yard run with 9:07 left before the half. Kainer Caudill’s extra point was wide left and the score stayed at 30-0.
Harlan County began to substitute heavily on the offensive side of the ball from that point. Fullback Bobby Huff closed the first half scoring with a 5-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter. The extra point failed and Harlan County led 36-0.
Harlan County out-gained Lee 326 yards to just 35 in the first half, while Middleton turned in 178 yards rushing on just seven carries.
“Our offensive line and blocking backs did a good job,” Larkey said. “We were working on a few plays inside that we hadn’t run all season.”
The Bears’ reserves turned in a solid performance throughout the second half. The defense shut down Lee’s first-team offense for most of the final two quarters, before the Generals scored on a 3-yard touchdown pass with just three seconds remaining in the contest.
Harlan County (3-1) returns to action next week at Knox Central. Lee (1-3) will host Wise Central on Sept. 28.