Wayne finds balance in blowout of Bears


Josh Turner and Hunter Helton (25) pressured Wayne County quarterback Brody Weaver earlier this season.

In a 55-22 loss last year at Wayne County, the Harlan County Black Bears couldn’t stop running back Braedon Sloan. In a 42-0 loss Friday at home, the Bears struggled to stop anyone.
Harlan County had a hard time on both sides of the ball, unlike a year ago when the Bears collected over 300 yards of offense and 14 first downs. The Bears were limited to 35 yards of offense and two first downs in Friday’s loss.
“I’m not taking anything away from Wayne County. By the end of the year, they will have a very good team, but I didn’t feel, from the first drive on, that we played with the intensity needed to win a high school football game,” Harlan County coach Eddie Creech said. “It all falls back on me. I have big shoulders and can take it. I didn’t have this football team ready to play tonight. They didn’t do anything different than what we’ve seen. It all comes down to they wanted it more than we did. If we don’t pick up our intensity level, it’s going to be a long year.”
Sloan, who rushed for 110 yards and scored three touchdowns, received plenty of help on offense by senior quarterback Brody Weaver, who passed for 115 yards and ran for 113, with two touchdowns passing and one rushing.
The Cardinals scored on all six possessions in the first half, beginning with a 24-yard pass from Weaver to Lee Shelton with 5:10 left in the opening quarter.
HCHS picked up first downs on its first two drives, one on a run by Demarco Hopkins and the second on a run by Matt Brown, but didn’t record another over the final three quarters as Wayne took control of the line of scrimmage.
Up 6-0 after one quarter, the Cardinals blew the game open with 34 points in the second period, starting a running clock for the second half. Wesley Cares caught a 31-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the second quarter, then Sloan reeled off three straight touchdown runs — covering 41, 30 and 24 yards. Weaver went 28 yards for the final Wayne touchdown one play after Tyler Flanary fumbled on a kickoff return.
Wayne picked up its final two points with three minutes left when HCHS quarterback Cody Clayborn was called for intentional grounding from his end zone.
The Bears, now 0-2, started slow in both 2017 and 2018 but recovered in time to win one regional title and one district championship.
“It’s going to come down to senior leadership,” Creech said. “When we won the region (in 2017) and the district (in 2018) we had seniors on those teams who started holding people accountable. Those seniors are capable of doing that, and I have confidence they can do it. We have to find a way to be more motivated to play football. Two months ago, we were all whining and complaining that we wanted to play. You think we’d play with more energy now that we have the chance, but again that all falls back on me.”
Harlan County opens its district schedule Friday at home against Clay County. Wayne County (1-1) will travel to Danville on Friday.



Wayne County 42, Harlan County 0
Wayne County 6 34 2 0 —42
Harlan County 0 0 0 0 — 0

WC — Shelton 24 pass from Weaver (kick failed)
WC — Cares 31 pass from Weaver (run failed)
WC — Sloan 41 (Shelton pass from Weaver)
WC — Sloan 30 run (pass failed)
WC — Sloan 24 run (Kelsay kick)
WC — Weaver 28 run (Kelsay kick)
WC — Safety (intentional grounding penalty in end zone)

                       WCHS. HCHS
First downs 14 2
Rushing-Yds 31-255 24-28
Passing 115 7
Comp-Att-Int 6-10-0 3-8-0
Penalties 10-80 2-10
Punts 1-7 2-41
Fumbles 0-0 3-2

RUSHING—Wayne County, Weaver 10-113, Sloan 15-110, Simpson 4-27, Sullivan 2-5. Harlan County, Hopkins 12-23, Turner 4-9, Brown 1-9, Carr 1-0, Clayborn 6-(-13).
PASSING — Wayne County, Weaver 6-10-0-115. Harlan County, Clayborn 3-8-0-7.
RECEIVING—Wayne County, Simpson 2-31, Cares 1-31, Shelton 1-24, Karr 1-21, Rice 1-8. Harlan County, Brown 2-6, Flanary 1-1.