Dragons looking to bounce back at East Ridge

Harlan%27s+Triston+Cochran+looked+for+running+room+in+last+week%27s+game+against+Middlesboro.+The+Green+Dragons+travel+to+East+Ridge+on+Friday.

Harlan’s Triston Cochran looked for running room in last week’s game against Middlesboro. The Green Dragons travel to East Ridge on Friday.

John Henson, Managing Editor

With games against East Ridge, Berea and Knott Central over the next three weeks, the Harlan Green Dragons have an opportunity to turn their season around after a season-opening 44-0 loss last week at home against Middlesboro.
East Ridge, Harlan’s opponent on Friday in Pike County, posted a 1-9 record in 2019, opening the season with nine straight losses before closing with a 30-15 win over Knott Central. The Warriors opened their season last week with a 48-24 loss at home against Pineville.
A 2A school, East Ridge opened in 2002 following the merger of Elkhorn City, Millard and Feds Creek. This will be the first meeting against Harlan.
“They haven’t had a whole lot of success the past couple of years, so I definitely feel it’s a winnable game,” Harlan coach Eric Perry said. “We have to bounce back from that first game and put it behind us because we feel these next three games are very winnable. Winning those games would give us some momentum going into district play. We’ve had two great days of practice this week.”
Senior running back Jeremy Taylor led the Warriors in both rushing and tackles last season with 298 yards on the ground and 83 tackles.
“They aren’t bad offensively. Their man set is the Wing T, but they will spread it out some and throw it a little bit,” Perry said. “I think a key for us is slowing down their running game.”
Senior running back Ethan Clem led the Harlan offense last week with 54 yards rushing. The Dragons were limited to only five yards of passing and five first downs. Two turnovers were also costly, along with two bad snaps on punts that gave Middlesboro good field position.
“We have to take advantage of opportunities when we get them,” Perry said. “We can’t fumble the ball. We have to be more disciplined. I feel good about the things we can do offensively this week.”
The Dragons could be without two starters on the line as senior center Isaiah Hall aggravated a knee injury against Middlesboro and junior guard Jonathan Lewis suffered a concussion.
“We don’t know if either of them will be with us yet, but the kids are staying positive and working hard,” Perry said.