Harlan County teams fall to North in state playoffs


John Henson

Luke Kelly scored two touchdowns for New Harlan in a playoff loss Saturday at North Laurel.

By John Henson, Sports Editor

LONDON — North Laurel’s aerial attack overmatched Harlan County’s ground game on Saturday in the eighth-grade state playoffs as the Jaguars closed the game with 23 unanswered points on the way to a 37-16 victory.
Braydon Howard threw for four touchdown passes, the first three to Colton Rawlings, as the Jaguars continually beat the Bears on the outside, even in long-yardage situations.
After a scoreless first quarter, Harlan County took the lead when Luke Kelly broke through and raced 70 yards for a touchdown. James Ryan Howard added the two-point conversion.
North cut the deficit to 8-6 when Howard teamed with Rawling for a 22-yard touchdown with 6:41 left in the second quarter.
A second North fumble recovery put the North offense back in business. Howard found Rawlings for a 74-yard scoring strike. Howard threw to Kole Jervis for a two-point conversion.
Kelly and Howard each picked up first downs as the Bears answered with a long drive capped by Kelly’s 4-yard TD run. Kelly’s two-point conversion put Harlan County up by two with 1:15 left in the half.
The Bears almost went. Into the half with a lead, but Howard teamed with Bowling for a 24-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-13 play with seconds to play before the break. Howard found Jervis for the conversion and a 22-16 lead.
Howard teamed with Jervis for a 42-yard touchdown on the opening series of the second half. Howard and Jervis combined on another two-point conversion for a 30-16 lead.
Evan Woodley closed the scoring with 19-yard touchdown run with 2:52 left. Collier Mills hit the extra point.
Harlan County’s Jason Fultz ran 70 yards to the North 15 in the closing minutes, but the drive stalled just before time expired.
The Bears finished their first eighth-grade season with a record of 2-6.
North Laurel pulled away with 22 points in the final quarter on the way to a 34-0 win over Harlan County in the seventh-grade state playoffs.
The Bears finished their first season with a 3-2 record in seventh-grade competition.

New Harlan’s Ryan Coots picked up yardage in seventh-grade playoff action Saturday.


Jayce Brown worked around a North Laurel defender in playoff action Saturday.