Dragons working to build on success with trip to Berea


Harlan running back Triston Cochran was surrounded by defenders in a game against visiting Middlesboro. The Dragons play host to Knott Central on Friday.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

With their losing streak behind them following a 29-18 win last week at East Ridge, the Harlan Green Dragons have found a new challenge going into Friday’s game at Berea.
The Green Dragons haven’t won back-to-back games since winning three straight in 2018 but have a very winnable game in front of them against a Berea team that beat them 21-7 last season. The Pirates put together one of the best seasons in school history in 2019 with a 7-4 mark but lost coach Aaron Stepp due to medical issues and are also without their quarterback (Jaylen Whitaker) from a year ago, along with their top three receivers.
“We like our chances going down there,” Harlan coach Eric Perry said. “We just weren’t used to winning last week and that caused us some problems. We were undisciplined at times. I think we can build off that. I loved our kids’ energy yesterday. It was a different confidence about them. We hope it’s something we can build on.”
Berea is off to an 0-2 start this season, falling 48-14 to Clinton County and 42-6 to Sayre. Junior running back Jaiden Cunnigham, who ran for 100 yards on 16 carries in last year’s game at Harlan, accounted for 143 of the Pirates’ 158 yards on the ground against Clinton County.
“They did lose their quarterback, which was a huge loss for them, but they still have the Cunningham kid and a new quarterback who throws It well,” Perry said. “He’s not as athletic, but he does throw it well.”
The Pirates also went to the air quite a bit in their opener as Jayson Colburn completed nine of 25 passes for 39 yards and one touchdown.
“We have to take care of the football. I thought we got careless last week with fumbles,” Perry said. “We have to focus on stopping the run and force them to throw it.”
Senior quarterback Connor Scearse led the Dragons last week as he passed for two touchdowns and ran for two others, collecting 98 yards rushing and completing five of 13 passes for 88 yards.
Perry expects tackle Jonathan Lewis to return to the lineup after missing last week, but senior center Isaiah Hall remains questionable due to a knee injury aggravated two weeks ago against Middlesboro.
“I think our offense has looked good and getting those linemen back will help,” Perry said.