Dragons continue finding ways to win with victory over Lynn Camp


Chris Jones

Harlan receiver Evan Browning pulled down a reception deep inside Lynn Camp territory on Friday to set up a touchdown on the final play of the first half. Harlan built a 21-point lead then held off a late Lynn Camp rally to win 27-14 to improve to 3-1 on the season.

A Harlan team with almost no experience in winning coming into the 2020 season has developed a knack for finding ways to win during a three-game streak that continued with a 27-14 victory Friday over visiting Lynn Camp.
“We gave away a big lead, but just like we have the last three games we found a way to pull it out,” Harlan coach Eric Perry said. “Our kids have big hearts, and they played hard. A lot of kids stepped up and made big plays.”
The Green Dragons appeared to be in control with two touchdown in the second quarter and another in the third to build a 21-0 lead. Lynn Camp fought back to within seven with two quick scores before Harlan put the game away with.a touchdown in the final minute, improving to 3-1 on the season after a 1-10 mark in 2019.
Junior tailback Jayden Ward had a big game for the Dragons with 173 yards on 26 carries, including a 70-yard touchdown run. Senior quarterback Ethan Clem added two touchdowns.
The Harlan defense may have been the star of the game, however, as the Dragons limited Lynn Camp to only 64 yards on the ground and held the Wildcats to negative rushing yardage until the third-quarter rally.
“I felt we dominated the first half and probably should have been up more. I thought the first half was about as good as we can play defensively. Our linebackers made numerous plays, and our defensive linemen played better,” Perry said. “We talked about going up 21-0 and having fun, but we just quit. I think it goes back to us not having the killer instinct. I also though we got tired, and I was kind of surprised at that. I think we tried to coast, and that was upsetting to see.”
The first quarter was a defensive struggle that featured five punts and only one first down.
Harlan started a 10-play scoring drive in the closing seconds of the first quarter, featuring four first-down runs by Ward before Clem rolled right and went the final 11 yards for a touchdown with eight minutes left in the half. Clem’s extra point try was off the mark.
Lynn Camp put together its first drive midway through the second period. The Wildcats picked up three first downs, one with the help of a penalty, and got as close as the Harlan 13 before Darius Akal picked off a Tylen Smith pass in the end zone with 3:36 left.
The Dragons marched 80 yards in 13 plays in a drive that began with Clem going 17 yards and Ward picking up 20 when he recovered a fumble and turning it into a big play. With the Dragons facing a fourth-and-13 play, Clem found Shane Lindsey for a 23-yard gain. Evan Browning had a catch for eight yards to set up Clem’s 3-yard touchdown run on the final play of the half. Ward’s two-point conversion run pushed the lead to 14-0 at halftime.
Ward broke through the middle and went 70 yards on the opening drive of the second half. Clem’s extra point made the score 21-0.
“Jayden really stepped up,” Perry said. “Triston (Cochran) was battling some thigh issues, and Jayden carried the load tonight. We have some resilient kids who just want the ‘W.’ I thought we got some revenge with this one. We felt we should have beat Lynn Camp last year, but we know we have to play better next week.”
Lynn Camp fought back as Smith capped an eight-play, 60-yard drive with a 1-yard TD run at the 4:13 mark of the third period.
The Wildcats were back in business after recovering a Ward fumble two plays later. Brody Lane went 12 yards for a touchdown with 3:01 to play in the quarter, then Smith teamed with Jayden Blevins for a two-point conversion that cut the deficit to seven.
After stopping the Dragons on downs, Lynn Camp had a chance to tie or take the lead after taking over on the 12 following a Clem punt. The Wildcats drove into Harlan territory with the help of two Gilbert catches, but the Dragons’ defense stiffened and freshman Noah Kirby broke through for a sack on third down.
A nice return by Donovan Montanaro gave Harlan the ball in Lynn Camp territory. A 14-yard pass from Clem to Akal on a second-and-17 play pushed the ball to the 3. After Ward was stopped for no gain, Perry had a decision to make. Instead of attempting a short field goal, he gave the ball to Ward and he bulled his way into the end zone with 44 seconds left to clinch the win.
Both teams return to district action Friday as Lynn Camp (0-5) plays host to Williamsburg and Harlan is at home against Pineville.
Harlan 27, Lynn Camp 14
Lynn Camp 0 0 14 6 — 14
Harlan 0 14 7 6 — 27
H — Clem 11 run (kick failed)
H — Clem 3 run (Ward run)
H — Ward 70 run (Clem kick)
LC — Smith 1 run (run failed)
LC — Lane 12 run (Blevins pass from Smith)
H — Ward 1 run (kick failed)

First downs 11 13
Rushing-Yds 64 203
Passing 120 75
Comp-Att-Int. 8-17-0 5-12-0
Penalties 4-60 10-100
Punts 6-27 2-24
Fumbles 0-0 8-2


Harlan junior Jayden Ward ran for 173 yards and scored a touchdown in the Green Dragons’ 27-14 win Friday over visiting Lynn Camp. (Chris Jones)