By John Middleton
The Harlan County Black Bears opened the junior varsity season with a dominant 48-6 victory over visiting Hazard on Monday.
“This is the first live game action that some of these guys have got all year, so it is real rewarding for them. They come out and practice all summer, so it’s good for them to finally get a game night,” said coach Eddie Creech.
Sophomore Fred Massey opened the scoring with a 48-yard touchdown run on Harlan County’s first possession. Bobby Huff ran in the two-point conversion to put the Bears up 8-0.
Huff recovered a Hazard fumble on the ensuing drive to give the ball back to Harlan County with 6:41 left in the first quarter.
Massey tacked on his second score just plays later with a 20-yard touchdown. The two-point run was stopped, and Harlan County led 14-0 with 4:05 left in the first.
“The sky is the limit for Fred. We are all on him all the time. If he flips the switch on there is nobody around here that can stop him,” Creech said.
Harlan County forced another turnover on Hazard’s second possession, as Massey intercepted a pass at the Bears’ 40. Freshman Jake Ball capitalized on the turnover with a 9-yard scoring run. The two-point pass was incomplete keeping Harlan County’s lead at 20-0 with 8:36 left in the second quarter.
After a Hazard punt, Massey broke free for a 54-yard run to Hazard’s 6-yard line to put the Bears in scoring position. Gist later scored on a 1-yard plunge up the middle to push the lead to 26-0 with 5:38 before halftime.
“Those guys up front did an excellent job tonight. We just run a lot of power and blast. The blocking backs did a good job too,” Creech said.
Hazard scored the final touchdown of the first half to close the gap to 26-6.
Derek Akal recovered a high snap at the Bulldogs’ 6 on Hazards first possession of the second half to set up yet another score. Gist quickly converted the turnover into points with a 6-yard run with 9:44 left in the quarter. Freshman Jarrett Ford completed the two-point attempt to Kacy Coldiron. to make it 34-6.
Harlan County’s defense score the next touchdown as Huff recovered his second fumble and raced in from 20-yards out for the score. Adam Clem ran in the two-point conversion as the lead grew to 42-6.
“Coach (Denny) Farmer does an excellent job with those guys on defense. They got lined up right and played their position. That is how our defense is designed - if everybody plays their position those are the results we will get,” Creech said.
Jordy Boles closed the scoring with a 22-yard touchdown run with 4:29 left in the contest.
Harlan County (1-0) returns to junior varsity action Monday at home against Bell County.The Bears will travel to South Laurel for a freshman contest on Thursday.