Dragons find success through the air in rout of Jenkins

By John Henson, Managing Editor

JENKINS — After watching Berea end a nine-game losing streak a week earlier, the Harlan Green Dragons made certain not to let it happen again Thursday against a Jenkins team that hadn’t won in over five years.
Harlan found success through the air with two quarterbacks in a 30-0 victory over the Cavaliers, who have now lost 34 straight games and were playing their first game in two years. The game was called with eight minutes left in the third quarter when the lights on one corner of the field went out for the second time.
Donovan Montanaro, a sophomore who made the start at quarterback with Cade Middleton slowed by an ankle injury, completed three of four passes for 88 yards as he played the first and third quarters. Middleton played the second quarter at quarterback and completed three of four passes for 78 yards.
“We wanted to throw the ball down the field. We didn’t feel we stretched the field at all in the first game. That was definitely a positive,” Harlan coach Eric Perry said. “They both looked good. Cade had been nursing an ankle injury and we didn’t know until game time that he could play.”
The Harlan defense limited Jenkins to 34 yards of offense.
“We did play well defensively overall,” Perry said. “We did too much arm tackling once we got a lead, but overall it was pretty good. We didn’t know what to expect from them going into the game.”
Despite having trouble with snaps out of the shotgun, the Harlan offense struck quickly on its first possession as Montanaro capped a five-play drive with a 24-yard touchdown run with 4:45 left in the first quarter. Montanaro added the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.
The Cavaliers went backwards on their second possession and Harlan recorded a safety when the Cavaliers’ receiver was tackled in the end zone after catching a pass on a fourth-and-13 play with 1:59 left in the opening quarter.
A long kickoff return by Will Austin set up the next Harlan score, a 24-yard pass from Montanaro to Darius Akal with with 56 seconds to play in the period. The two-point conversion attempt failed.
Middleton found Evan Browning for two long passes in the second quarter, including a 30-yard touchdown strike with 39 seconds left in the half.
Montanaro completed a 25-yard pass to Dylan Middleton on the first play of the second half. Jayden Ward ran six yards on the next play, then Montanaro went in from the 9 on the third play of the 40-yard drive. Montanaro closed the scoring with the two-point conversion.
Jenkins drove deep into Harlan territory with the help of three 15-yard penalties by the Dragons, getting to the 6 before the game was stopped when the lights went out again. Harlan was penalized 12 times for 120 yards.
“It’s a never-ending story for us. We’re still struggling with the mental part,” Perry said. “I thought a couple of them were questionable, but we did run our mouths too much a few times. Those are things we have to clean up.”
The Green Dragons play their home opener on Sept. 10 against East Ridge.