Green Dragons rally for win at Berea


Nathan Hutchinson

Harlan receiver Shane Lindsey went up for the ball during a 22-20 win Friday at Berea.

BEREA — After a season of finding ways to lose, the Harlan Green Dragons are learning how to win.
Harlan won for the second straight week by rallying for a 22-20 win Friday at Berea.
“We came out extremely flat, which I was scared may happen after the win last week,” Harlan coach Eric Perry said. “We were struggling to get anything going offensively in the first half. Our defense came up big several times and allowed us to hang around. I’m really proud of these guys for finding a way to pull it out in the end.”
Berea junior running back Jaiden Cunningham had two touchdown runs and senior wide receiver Jayden Smith had a touchdown catch for the third-straight game.
“We let this game slip through our fingers,” Berea coach Tony Degregorio said. “I failed to prepare my team and ball security cost us the game.”
Berea had a 13-6 lead at halftime and didn’t trail until the final minutes.
The game featured eight turnovers and a seemingly endless string of penalties on both teams.
Cunningham got Berea on the board with a 40-yard touchdown run two minutes into the second quarter.
Harlan senior quarterback Connor Scearse left the game with an injury, but the Green Dragons took advantage of a Berea fumble moments later. Ethan Clem scored on a 10-yard run.
Just before the half, Smith caught a 29-yard TD pass from Jayson Coburn.
A touchdown catch by Evan Browning and two-point conversion helped Harlan tie the game, 14-14, with 4:47 left in the third quarter.
Berea jumped back in front, 20-14, on a 17-yard touchdown by Cunningham less than two minutes later.
The Pirates failed on fourth down on each of their final two possessions, giving the Green Dragons a chance to battle back.
Shane Lindsey caught a pass over the middle and got to just short of the goalline before being dragged down. Darius Akal caught a touchdown pass with 1:14 left to tie the game. A two-point conversion run by Clem put Harlan in front for the first time.
Clem and Jayden Ward shared time at quarterback after Scearse went out with a knee injury.
Perry was not happy with what he called a lack of discipline, leading to numerous penalties.
“It just seem to be snowballing. We again played undisciplined at times with all the unsportsmanlike penalties which falls back on me, and we will get that fixed, I promise,” Perry said. “We are down to 19 bodies, I believe, with the injuries, but if it takes us playing with nine on a series they can sit over there with me if we are going to continue to be selfish. The last six minutes of the game the kids dug deep and got a couple stops and then Ethan found Shane Lindsey who made a great play to go up and bring down that pass late that set us up for the touchdown that tied it up.”
Harlan is scheduled to play host to Knott Central on Friday. Berea is set to return to action on Oct. 9 at district rival Kentucky Country Day.


Sophomore kicker Maddy King, who hit two extra points against the Green Dragons, has Harlan County connections.
King is the granddaughter of former Evarts High School teacher Bill Jack Wilson and the cousin of Harlan attorney Kellie Wilson.


Harlan receiver Darius Akal celebrated after scoring a touchdown to give the Green Dragons a 22-20 win at Berea on Friday. (Nathan Hutchinson)