Ledford leads Dragons over Middlesboro
After three weeks and three losses playing without Kilian Ledford, the Harlan Green Dragons were certainly happy to have their senior running back/receiver/safety back from off-season surgery on his wrist.
Ledford had quite the homecoming Friday in Harlan’s 44-32 win over visiting Middlesboro. He ran for 256 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, added a 30-yard touchdown pass from Will Varner and threw in an interception near the Middlesboro goal line for good measure as the Dragons broke a three-game losing streak to open the season.
“Kilian coming back was huge. The confidence he gives our team is important because he’s been in practice with us the whole time,” said Harlan coach John Luttrell. “In my heart of hearts, I knew he would be a beast. I think he’s where he can shine now (after playing quarterback the past two years) because we’ll get him the ball in places where he can do some damage.”
John Brady Brock, a senior running back, also had a breakout game with 125 yards and three touchdowns on six carries.
“I think a lot of it is Kilian giving everyone confidence. I’m glad to see John Brady have a big game,” Luttrell said.
Middlesboro marched 52 yards in 12 plays on the game’s opening possession, capped by a 4-yard touchdown run from freshman tailback Seth Huff. Treyvon Watkins added the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead with 5:31 left in the first quarter.
Ledford and Brock each picked up first downs as the Dragons answered. Ledford scored on a 30-yard pass from Varner as he caught the ball, then dodged a defender on the way to a touchdown. Varner teamed with Caleb Adkins for a two-point conversion that tied the game with 3:48 left in the opening period.
After stopping the Jackets on a four-and-out, the Harlan offense was back in business when Adkins returned a punt to the Middlesboro 26. The Dragons faced a fourth-and-seven when Varner teamed with Adkins for a 28-yard pass play to the 1. Ledford scored two plays later for a 14-8 lead late in the first quarter.
A 39-yard run by Huff set up the next Middlesboro touchdown, an 18-yard run by Sebastian Wagoner on the first play of the second quarter. Huff added the two-point conversion and the Jackets took a lead they maintained the rest of the first half.
The third quarter belonged to Ledford and Brock, who had touchdown runs of 60 and 64 yards, respectively. Garrett Begley caught a deflected pass from Varner for one two-point conversion. Adkins caught a pass from Varner for the other as Harlan built a 30-16 lead after three quarters.
Huff scored on a 1-yard run and Rogers added the two-point conversion as the Jackets pulled within six, but Brock scored on TD runs of 42 and 3 yards to put the game away. Ledford ran for 31 yards for set up the first TD, then had an interception followed by a 62-yard run to the Middlesboro 3 to set up the final HHS touchdown that pushed the lead to 44-24 with 2:16 left.
A 48-yard pass from Rogers to Wagoner with 50 seconds left closed the scoring.
“I was real proud of the way we made them work for what they got,” Luttrell said. “They had some big plays, but we made them run the clock, which was good for us when we were ahead.”
Harlan (1-3) returns to action Friday at home against Magoffin County. Middlesboro (1-3) will travel to Pineville on Friday.
Harlan 44, Middlesboro 32
Middlesboro 8 8 0 16— 32
Harlan 14 0 16 14— 44
M — Huff 4 run (Watkins run)
H — Ledford 30 pass from Varner (Adkins pass from Varner)
H — Ledford 1 run (pass failed)
M — Wagoner 18 run (Huff run)
H — Ledford 60 run (Begley deflected pass from Varner)
H — Brock 64 run (Adkins pass from Varner)
M — Huff 1 run (Rogers run)
H — Brock 42 run (Ledford pass from Varner)
H — Brock 3 run (pass failed)
M — Wagoner 48 pass from Rogers (Helton pass from Rogers)
First downs 21 16
Rushes-yards 270 390
Passing 102 60
Comp-Att-Int 6-14-1 3-12-0
Fumbles-Lost 4-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 3-10 3-25
RUSHING—Middlesboro, Huff 13-96, Mason 12-77, Wagoner 7-46, Rogers 8-39, Bogonko 6-12, Watkins 2-0. Harlan, Ledford 15-256, Brock 6-125, Varner 7-6, Howard 3-6 Adkins 1-(-3).
PASSING—Middlesboro, Rogers 6-14-1-102. Harlan, Varner 3-12-0-60.
RECEIVING—Middlesboro, Helton 2-26, Huff 2-16, Wagoner 1-48, Brock 1-12. Harlan, Adkins 2-30, Ledford 1-30.