Playoff berth goes to winner of HCHS-Perry matchup


Kim Henson

Harlan County senior linebacker Josh Sergent went for a tackle in a game earlier this against Clay County. Sergent and the Black Bears close their district schedule Friday at Perry Central.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

After promising starts to the 2022 season, the Harlan County Black Bears and Perry Central Commodores find themselves trying to stop losing streaks as they meet Friday in Hazard in a must-win situation for both teams.
Perry Central opened the season with four straight wins before losing three of the last four. Harlan County opened the season at 3-2 but has now lost three straight. The winner of Friday’s game earns fourth place in District 8 of 4A and a playoff berth. The loser finishes fifth and missed the postseason.
“It’s a game that’s very winnable, for either team. It will come down to who is ready to play and who wants it the most and who wants to play in the state playoffs,” Harlan County coach Amos McCreary said. “I think that’s exactly what it will come down to.”
Junior quarterback Kizer Alone has led the Perry offense since transferring over the summer from Knott Central. He has completed 81 of 148 passes for 1,198 yards, with nine touchdowns and six interceptions. Ethan Combs and Noah Kilburn are tied for the team lead in receptions with 24 each. Elijah Gayheart leads in rushing yardage with 497 and three touchdowns. Seth Jackson has run for 447 yards and 11 touchdowns.
“They can throw it around pretty well. He has two or three he can throw it to,” McCreary said. “This district is pretty good. I think we’ve seen that the last few weeks. We have to hold on to the football and can get some offense going. If we get some offense going, I hope it fires the defensive group up to play an entire game.”
The Bears have lost junior quarterback Ethan Rhymer to a season-ending sprain in the neck/back area. Josh Sergent, normally the Bears’ fullback, started at quarterback last week and will see action there this week also. Jonah Swanner, who was limited to only a handful of plays last week, could also play quarterback, in addition to receiver.
Thomas Jordan has led the HCHS offense with 756 yards rushing. James Ryan Howard and Swanner have added 268 and 265 yards, respectively. Sergent has led the defense with 87 tackles.