Dragons hope to bounce back from opening-game loss with trip to Jenkins

Cavaliers enter game with a 33-game losing streak


Chris Jones

Harlan senior lineman Jonathan Lewis worked with a tackling donut during a preseason workout. Lewis and the Dragons are scheduled to play at Jenkins on Thursday.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

With an early open date in the season’s second week, the Harlan Green Dragons have had a couple of weeks to think about what they did wrong in a 29-8 season-opening loss at Berea as they prepare for Thursday’s game at Jenkins.
“It has been very difficult. That first game was a big disappointment for everybody,” Harlan coach Eric Perry said. “I’m walking around telling people how good we’re going to be and we laid an egg. We’re tied with five minutes to go in the third quarter and they catch a touchdown off a deflection. We just kind of laid down after that. We have a leadership issue. It’s more mental for us right now. We have to develop some leadership, and we’ll see how that goes. We have a lot of injuries right now.”
Berea ended a nine-game losing streak with the win over the Dragons. Harlan will face a team Thursday that hasn’t won since Oct. 7 of 2016 when the Cavaliers beat South Floyd 28-20. Jenkins has lost 33 straight games and suspended its program two games into the 2019 season due to low numbers. The Cavaliers didn’t play at all last season and dropped its first game this year as coaches worked to build a roster. Jenkins has 16 players on its roster heading into this week’s game.
“I have talked to their coach and we’ve relayed what each of us do, so we have a general idea. They will run kind of a Wing-T on offense and a 44 on defense,” Perry said. “But as far as seeing anything, we haven’t seen any film whatsoever. They don’t know much on us either though.”
The Dragons were limited to 58 yards of rushing by the Pirates as Dylan Middleton and Triston Cochran each ran for 29 yards. Cade Middleton completed 12 of 22 passes for 112 yards. Jayden Ward had four catches for 36 yards, while Dylan Middleton added three for 31 yards and Darius Akal had two for 25 yards. Evan Browning and Will Austin had one catch each.
“We’re starting two freshmen and two sophomores up front. We’re still a work in progress, no doubt about it,” Perry said. “I think we have to run the ball to set up the pass. Cade had a 60-yard run called back and that was deflating as well. I thought Dylan Middleton played really well offensively and defensively. I thought our linebackers played well also. It’s a mental thing right now and I take responsibility for it.”
Jared Eldridge and Dylan Middleton led the Harlan defense with nine tackles each. Robert Sanford added eight.
Harlan could be without several key players against Jenkins, including Middleton and senior lineman Jonathan Lewis, who are both considered “doubtful” for the game.