Pirates break losing skid with second-half surge against Harlan


Richmond Register photo

Harlan defensive back Evan Browning moved in for a tackle in Friday’s game at Berea. The Pirates broke a nine-game losing streak with a 29-8 victory over Harlan.

By Zach Combest, Richmond Register

The Berea Community football team opened up the 2021 season hungry for a victory — and that is exactly what they got.
The Pirates defeated Harlan, 29-8, on Friday night at Duerson Stadium.
“It feels great,” first-year Berea coach Frank Parks said. “Wins are hard to come by. These guys have been putting in the work all summer long. They have bought in and we’ve coached them hard, loved them hard, but it feels great for these young men to come out here and get them a win.”
The Pirates went 0-8 last season and had lost nine straight games overall.
Berea and Harlan were locked up in a defensive battle for the entire first half. The teams went into the locker room scoreless.
At the break, Parks told his squad that self-inflicted penalties and errors hurt the offense from scoring and pushing the ball down the field.
“I told them everything was correctable and when they come out in the second half, get a stop, which the defense played very well. Then we’re going to drive down the field and score and then it’s a different ball game,” he said.
Parks credited his team for executing the plays better in the second half which allowed them to get the ball moving and reach the end zone.
With 5:36 in the third quarter, senior quarterback Jayson Coburn threw his first touchdown pass of the night. The pass was tipped into the hands of junior Yamil Cruz. The Pirates converted on the two point attempt to make the score 8-0.
Cruz finished the night with three touchdowns.
“It was a good play — sometimes better to be lucky than good,” Parks said about the tip and catch for the Pirates’ first touchdown. “They kept fighting and stayed with it. That got the monkey off our back for us putting the ball in the end zone and then we took off from there. It was big.”
The offense started to click after that.
The Pirates capped off the third quarter with a rushing touchdown from Jaiden Cunningham to make the score 16-0.
The Berea defense was strong all night and put pressure on the quarterback. The Pirates defense came up with two interceptions and a fumble recovery by Cameron Thompson at the end of the third quarter.
“They played hard,” Parks said of his defense. “Even when I watched them last year on film. One thing about them, they always played hard and never quit and always fought. Now it’s all come together as far as fundamentals and techniques. Defense can carry you a long way when you play that way.”
Berea will be back at home next week against Nicholas County. Harlan is open next week before traveling to Jenkins on Sept. 3.